Real-time feedback wins the award for biggest game changer in the world of modern performance management. While we know that yesterday’s processes won’t work for today’s employees, the thought of overhauling your HR strategy can be daunting. Enter real-time feedback. It complements nearly every aspect of HR, from coaching and development to rewards and recognition to, yes, performance management. It also works well with what you already have in place, whether that’s a quarterly goal setting strategy or even annual reviews.

So, what’s so special about real-time feedback?

The real value of it lies in its ability to help companies address multiple trends at play in the workplace today. We’ve uncovered three big trends that are disrupting the way companies think about performance management. Read on to learn how real-time feedback tackles them head on.


Employees are looking for development opportunities.

Now the largest workforce demographic, Millennials are calling the shots when it comes to employee needs. One of their biggest demands is more professional development opportunities – and the stats speak for themselves.

With shorter average tenures than their older predecessors, Millennials are always plotting their next move – whether that’s with their current employer or a new one. For this reason, professional development opportunities are a big selling point for candidates and a great way to keep top employees engaged and with your company longer.

Real-time feedback is a great way to develop employees every single day. It’s complimentary to a formal professional development program by creating a real-time extension of employee coaching. It also creates an opportunity for managers to get more personally involved in helping their employees grow and develop stronger relationships with them, all of which increases loyalty.


Collaborative cultures are in demand.

A lot has been said of Millennials’ preference for collaborative work environments. The benefits are clear – a stronger company culture, a more bonded team, and more cross-company communications, to name a few.

Consider these stats:

Companies can foster collaboration in various ways. Physically, it often takes the shape of open workspaces and multi-purpose office spaces that bring teams together. A company’s communications systems, like an Intranet or messaging tool like Slack, also create opportunities to collaborate.

While open office spaces allow employees to collaborate on their actual work, real-time peer-to-peer feedback creates a way for employees to engage on each other’s performance. It also reduces the risk of bias, as managers have multiple sources from which to base an employee’s performance.


Employees live in an on-demand world.

Largely due to technology, we as a society live in a world where our entire lives are “on demand.” We don’t even have to drive anywhere or grocery shop: cars appear within minutes to take us across town and we can order our groceries from our phone and have them delivered in a few hours.

All of these luxuries we enjoy in our personal lives spill over into our professional ones. We no longer know how to “wait” for anything, and that includes an assessment of how we’re doing at our jobs. The annual review catches a lot of flack for this reason. Here’s what we know about real-time feedback:

Real-time feedback eliminates this issue by allowing employees to know exactly how they’re performing in the moment. No waiting, no second-guessing yourself. The once-a-year opportunity to see where you stack up becomes a continuous one when you can check in on your performance in real time.

employee engagement ideas

Every business wants employee engagement ideas that will deliver on their promise.

Why? Because employee engagement is a business goldmine. Industry research shows that for every 1% increase in employee engagement, companies can expect to see an additional 0.6% growth in sales for their organization.

Despite the power of employee engagement, finding employee engagement ideas that actually work is a challenge for many companies. One barrier to success: employee engagement ideas often require employees to engage in ways that may not interest or matter to them.

When we’ve researched employee engagement ideas, we found one approach that consistently works: investing in an overall employee experience that invites employees to engage in meaningful ways. This kind of employee experience includes a culture of performance and engagement.

Here are five employee engagement ideas that build a great employee experience – and boost your bottom line.

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Employee Engagement Ideas

Set individual employee goals that are clearly tied to corporate goals.

Gallup’s 2017 Performance Management Report showed that employees who strongly agree that they can link their goals to the organization’s goals are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged. How do you get there? Train managers to work with employees to set quarterly or monthly goals, and review progress in regular one-on-ones.

Want tips for great goal-setting? See our Manager’s Guide to Effective 1-on-1’s.

Build team connections during the work day.

In our research of more than 850 employees for for The Employee Experience Quantified, 1 in 4 employees had quit a job because they didn’t like the people they worked with. Additionally, 67% of the employees said that connections with their managers and coworkers affected how long they stay in a job.

Yet, building connections only through happy hours or outside work activities can leave out working parents, employees who are doing night classes, or those who may not drink alcohol. Instead, take time during the work day to strengthen those connections with a team lunch, team recognition, or quarterly birthday celebrations.

Create, communicate and demonstrate company core values.

Core values matter. Our research in the Employee Experience Optimized showed that 83% of employees who worked in companies that had clearly communicated core values reported a positive employee experience vs. 38% of those that didn’t have clearly communicated core values at their companies.

What, you may ask, is the value of that positive employee experience? Improved engagement, company revenues, productivity, retention, customer experience and absenteeism — according to our research in the Employee Experience Quantified.

Strengthen the 10 Culture Building Blocks.

Through reviewing organizational psychology research, we identified (and backed up with research) 10 Culture Building Blocks that lead to high levels of employee engagement and an excellent employee experience. We found that an average of 90% of employees who had an excellent employee experience have the 10 Culture Building Blocks in their jobs vs. an average of 20% for those that don’t have them.

See this post to see a list of the 10 Culture Building Blocks. Or take our Company Culture Quiz to see how your company culture stacks up.

Invest in a public, peer-to-peer recognition platform.

Appreciation is one of the four pillars of the employee experience. And one of the best ways to make sure your employees feel appreciated? Recognize their great work on a public recognition feed. In addition to making that employee feel appreciated, public recognition also sends an important message to other team members about what work matters.

Enabling peer-to-peer recognition has added benefits. It means there are more opportunities to give real-time recognition. And it’s team-building. Studies have shown that teams that reward each other perform better.

And for the final note on our employee engagement ideas: our customer ROI study showed that 100% of the companies that used the Kazoo Employee Experience Platform increased employee engagement.

About Kazoo:

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning employee experience platform that delivers engagement, retention, performance management, and improved business metrics. As a dominant force in the HCM market with an industry-leading retention rate, Kazoo partners with more than 400 global organizations to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces. Founded in 2013, Kazoo continues to revolutionize the employee experience with its platform based on the science of motivation, rewards, and recognition. To request a demo, visit

On Friday, May 25 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) officially takes effect. The GDPR, put forth by the European Commission in 2012 and finally agreed upon by the European Parliament and Council in December 2016, is set to replace the Data Protection Directive 95/46/ec. Although many companies have already adopted privacy processes and procedures consistent with the Directive, the GDPR contains a number of new protections for EU data subjects and threatens significant fines and penalties for non-compliant data controllers and processors.

The primary objectives of GDPR are to:

  • Create a unified data protection regulation for all 28 European Countries.
  • Enhance the level of data protection for EU data subjects.
  • Modernize the law in line with existing and emerging technologies.

GDPR has international reach—applying to any organization—no matter where its jurisdiction—that processes the personal data of EU residents or citizens. Fines for non-compliance increase substantially, up to a maximum fine of €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover per incident, whichever is higher.

There is a tiered approach to fines e.g. a company can be fined 2% for not having their records in order, not notifying the supervising authority and data subject about a breach or not conducting impact assessment. Additionally, the GDPR gives individual consumers a private right of action in EU courts, which means they have a right to seek financial damages for any harm caused by the processing of personal data.


Kazoo’s Commitment to Data Protection and GDPR Compliance

Kazoo has achieved compliance with GDPR requirements and is committed to supporting your GDPR compliance efforts by May 25th 2018 and beyond. Our principles are aligned with the GDPR, namely to earn the trust and respect the rights of our customers. How we help Human Capital practitioners address these higher expectations around the collection, use and security of personal and confidential employee data is key. Kazoo can help you meet those expectations. We have established a Data Privacy Program to continuously ensure compliance with applicable data protection laws. Over the years, we have successfully satisfied customer data protection requirements by demonstrating compliance with the EU Data Protection Directive, and some country-level data protection laws from NA, LATAM, and APAC. Kazoo enables global organizations to collaborate more effectively across the globe while safeguarding and protecting employee personal information and privacy. Our new Privacy Statement is designed to be clearer and more transparent. You can read the new privacy statement here.


Accountability Under the GDPR

One of the most significant requirements under the GDPR is the accountability principle. Organizations must be able to demonstrate their GDPR compliance and should therefore consider what types of technical and organizational measures will allow them to meet the accountability principle.

GDPR Article 24 requires Controllers to “implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure and to be able to demonstrate that processing is performed in accordance” with the GDPR.

Kazoo has implemented a number of administrative, physical and technical controls that demonstrate our compliance with the GDPR principles, such as:

  • Contractual addendums to ensure that all our suppliers continue to apply the same high standards on data protection
  • Adoption of process for Data Protection Impact Assessments
  • Encryption at Rest
  • Data Management (data rectification, erasure and portability)
  • Awareness & Training
  • Privacy Compliance Monitoring, Audit and Enforcement


GDPR Key Impacts: Enhanced level of protection for data subjects

  • Definition of “Personal Data” now explicitly includes online identifiers (name, photo, email, posts/comments on sites), location (IP addresses) data and biometric/genetic data
  • Higher standards for privacy notices and for obtaining consent
  • Easier access (correction requests) to personal data by a data subject
  • Enhanced right to request the erasure of their personal data
  • Right to transfer personal data to another organization (portability)
  • Right to object to processing now explicitly includes profiling.


GDPR Key Impacts: Obligations for Data Controllers and Processers

  • Operationalization of a Data Protection by Design and by Default Process.
  • 72-hour detailed data breach notification obligations.
  • Requirement to conduct risk analysis and Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA).
  • Appointment of Data Protection Officer (DPO), required in certain cases.
  • Implementation of technical and organizational security measures appropriate to the risks presented.
  • Cross-border data transfers still allowed via the use of EU Model Clauses, Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) or Privacy Shield.
  • Vendor security risks and privacy management.
  • Pseudonymization of personal data required for the processing personal data beyond original collection purposes.



Any GDPR related questions and any data subject requests can be addressed to Kazoo’s Privacy team at [email protected]

Employee Incentive IdeasIn today’s job market the competition for top talent is fierce. Finding employee incentive ideas that boost talent recruitment, retention, and development is like finding a golden ticket for business success.

Yet most traditional employee incentive plans don’t work for longer-term employee retention or talent development. What does? Creating an employee experience that builds an employee’s own motivation to do their job. Our research report, the Employee Experience Defined, shows that a successful employee experience is one rich in connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation.

How do employee rewards and recognition programs, perks, and benefits build these four pillars? Here are 5 examples.

Motivation-Boosting Employee Incentive Ideas

Tie Incentives to Spontaneous, Real-time, Specific Recognition

The London School of Economics has found that cash performance bonuses can actually demotivate employees. Instead, other studies have shown that a simple thank you for good work is often a more motivating reward. (See more of the science in Reward and Recognition System that Work.)

You can put this science into action by creating a public platform for spontaneous, real-time recognition of small behaviors that support company goals and values. Making that recognition public sends a motivating message to an entire team instead of a single employee. Reinforce the value of the recognition by supporting it with a tiny bonus that can go towards a bigger reward.

Empower Employees with Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Studies show that giving recognition can be even more powerful than receiving it. Enabling employees to give peer-to-peer recognition builds motivation for both the giver and the receiver.

Plus, it takes the recognition work off a manager’s shoulders. Not many managers have time to walk around the office noticing every small action of their employees. (And if they did, many employees may not want to work for them!) Creating a public platform for peer-to-peer recognition can help managers see great work that their employees do, without having to eagle eye every action.

How many employee incentive ideas offer that?

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Adopt a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Strategy

Not all employee incentive ideas motivate every employee.

While a gym membership may be important to one employee, it may be useless for another. One employee may be very motivated by spontaneous recognition while their coworker may want to know exact steps for getting recognized or earning a bonus.

Using a rich employee experience platform to deliver your employee incentive ideas gives employees a variety of ways to give and receive rewards and recognition. It also offers employees the choice of a wide variety of rewards, so they can select the ones that most matter to them.

Think About Experiences More than Just Stuff

People get more happiness from experiences than from accumulating stuff. While some employees will choose a gift card for a reward, they also will be motivated by having a choice of unique experiences in a reward and incentives mix.

Some examples of these experiences? Take time off to volunteer. Have a happy hour with your team. Get a yoga lesson. Come in late one day.

All of these experiences build on the connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation that help build more employee engagement.

Reward the Whole Team

Instead of having all recognition and rewards focus on an individual, look for teams that work well and perform as a group. In the end, these are the teams that will stick together and continue to perform longer.

One approach for building that kind of team? Use some employee incentive ideas designed for a team, rather than just an individual. This may start with recognizing a whole group for their work, but it also includes team experiences in the mix.

By using these five employee incentive ideas, you can create a highly motivating employee experience that makes your top talent want to keep coming into work every single day.

About Kazoo:

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning employee experience platform that delivers engagement, retention, performance management, and improved business metrics. As a dominant force in the HCM market with an industry-leading retention rate, Kazoo partners with more than 400 global organizations to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces. Founded in 2013, Kazoo continues to revolutionize the employee experience with its platform based on the science of motivation, rewards, and recognition. To request a demo, visit

Today we’re diving into what employee recognition is and isn’t, as well as some tips for implementing a new program or revamping a stale one that may not be as effective anymore.

What is employee recognition?

If you think this is an easy question, a quick Google search proves that many still get it wrong. Many of the misconceptions that lead to poorly designed recognition programs can be found in definitions of employee recognition found around the Web.

Case in point: defines employee recognition in part as “Communication between management and employees which rewards them for reaching specific goals or producing high quality results in the workplace.” It goes on to say “Recognizing or honoring employees for this level of service is meant to encourage repeat actions, through reinforcing the behavior you would like to see repeated.”

While the second part of this definition does a great job of explaining the intended broader outcome of a recognition program, the first part perpetuates some commonly believed myths.

Employee Recognition

Here’s a few “do’s” of employee recognition.

1. Employee recognition should flow in all directions.

Recognition should never occur only between management and employees. One of the biggest flaws of a standard “Employee of the Month”-type program is that it only flows in one direction – down. Peer-to-peer recognition builds a sense of community between employees and contributes to a positive company culture. On a more tactical level, it creates a bigger window into an employee’s performance, by allowing those who work together to recognize others for their contributions that managers might not otherwise see.

2. Employee recognition is not the same as rewards.

Recognition and rewards often go hand in hand, but it’s important to note that they aren’t the same thing, nor are they interchangeable. Reward programs tend to incentivize employees for reaching or surpassing specific milestones related to performance, such as bonuses for sales quotas, and tenure, like anniversary gifts.

The goal of a recognition program is very different. It recognizes employees for specific behaviors and actions that represent a company’s mission and values. And, making that recognition public allows employees to see firsthand what it takes to successful.

3. Employee recognition is an everyday activity.

For a recognition program to be successful, it must be accessible to employees every single day. Asking for employees to submit each other and announcing them periodically lessens the impact that the positive behavior was meant to encourage. Employees need to be recognized in the moment to feel valued and for the action to have a positive ripple effect throughout the organization.

4. Employee recognition celebrates the unexpected.

Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. In the case of recognition programs, too much of it lessens its impact and power. Employee recognition should be reserved for those who go above and beyond their job description in a way rings true to a company’s values – not doled out to anyone who does this work and hits their goals.

The domino effect of employee recognition is real.

While the goal of an employee recognition program is to ultimately recognize individuals for displaying behavior that you’d like to be repeated, there are many other ways that businesses benefit from the program.

Brand reputation can make or break a company’s ability to attract talent – which is critical in the low unemployment world in which we live today. An active recognition program shows potential employees that a company cares about individual performance as well as fostering a sense of teamwork and community amongst its employees.

If employees feel valued and that their work is validated, they’re more likely to stick around, right? Right. Higher retention rates are also a byproduct of recognition. Deloitte found that companies with a highly effective recognition program had 31% lower voluntary turnover than those with an ineffective program.

Employee recognition programs can also have a positive effect on organizational culture. Since recognitions are tied to the values most important to employees, they serve to reinforce the culture in a very direct, relevant way.

So, what is the best definition of employee recognition?

The best definition we’ve seen for employee recognition comes from a now defunct Canadian organization called the HR Council. It defines it as “the acknowledgement of an individual or team’s behavior, effort and accomplishments that support the organization’s goals and values.” HR leaders should keep this definition in mind when designing a recognition program.

Employee Recognition

Having built an award-winning employee experience platform, the team at Kazoo has a unique perspective on company cultures. In addition to partnering with companies to improve their cultures, we get to see how they answer, “What is the employee experience?” for themselves and observe how it affects their organizations.

Recently, we took our research a step further to understand what culture looks like in organizations today and what building blocks a culture needs to reap optimal business benefits.

The results are presented in The Employee Experience Optimized. Among them, we uncovered 10 Culture Building Blocks that are vital to the employee experience.

Learn how Kazoo unifies company cultures

Below, you’ll find these 10 Culture Building Blocks — and ways an employee experience platform helps put them in place.

An employee experience platforms affects these 10 Culture Building Blocks

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1. A sense of pride for what the company does and stands for

In our research, 93% more employees stated they had pride in their company when the company had clearly communicated core values. Use an employee experience platform to keep core values front and center — in Kazoo, all employee recognition is tagged with them, for instance — to put this building block firmly in place.

2. Positive, trusting relationships with managers

Consistent, positive feedback from managers is an essential ingredient for brewing trust. An employee experience platform that enables real-time, top-down recognition allows you to create a culture of trust and appreciation at your company.

3. Strong, positive relationships between team members

Likewise, having a platform for not just top-down but also peer-to-peer recognition ensures your organization is strengthening the multiple building blocks of a best-in-class culture.

4. Regular feedback on and appreciation for day-to-day work

A full-featured employee experience platform will not only let you redefine recognition and open the floodgates for positive feedback, its reporting and analytics will give everyone actionable insights into day-to-day work, enabling better feedback conversations.

5. A clear understanding of company and team goals

When set up correctly, the recognition and rewards features in an employee experience platform rally teams around objectives. Not only are efforts towards success being recognized by employees, but the system can automatically reward behaviors that contribute toward KPIs.

6. Opportunities for professional growth and continued learning

Here’s where the “social” aspect of effective employee experience platforms comes into play. When participation in learning and growth opportunities is incentivized in front of the whole company, awareness skyrockets. An ROI study of Kazoo customers found they were seeing up to 50% growth in corporate program participation.

7. Knowledge of how individual work makes a difference in company or team success

With strong adoption of an employee experience platform, your company’s activity feed becomes a real-time pulse of everything positive happening across the organization, making it abundantly clear what actions are having an impact.

8. Flexibility to meet demands of personal and professional life

The employee rewards catalog offered through a good employee experience platform will be one that’s customized to the unique needs and motivations of your employees. These rewards can also reinforce your commitment to improve employees’ work-life balance.

9. Swift and transparent company-wide communication

No more waiting for the next all-hands meeting or end-of-year party: an employee experience platform — when integrated properly — will become an instant way to celebrate successes big and small as one team.

10. Opportunities for ownership, creativity, and innovation at work

Employee anxiety about thinking outside the box or going above and beyond for a project is reduced significantly with an employee experience platform. As these behaviors are rewarded consistently via social recognition, others will gain awareness and take advantage of these opportunities within your culture.

View the report

An employee experience platform is a critical component of business success. To learn more about leveraging the right platform to improve your culture and optimize your employee experience, download our full report, The Employee Experience Optimized.

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