We’re now in our final month of the first quarter of 2019. What does that mean? Well, not much if your employees don’t set quarterly goals.

Setting goals quarterly vs. annually can net businesses 31% greater ROI from their performance management process, according to analyst Josh Bersin. How? Well, here’s six ways that quarterly goals make your employees more successful – and we’ve really just scratched the surface.

1. It breaks the year into manageable time periods.
In today’s business environment where things can change overnight, 12 months is a really, really long time. It’s a lot to ask employees to set goals for an entire year, especially considering that many businesses need to adjust their own objectives over the course of 365 days. By asking employees to plan out their goals 90 days at a time, there’s less chance of a major company shift derailing their plans.

2. It forces employees to set realistic goals.
It’s difficult to grasp how long a year really is. Each person has their own perception of time, so there’s likely to be a lot of inconsistencies between individual employee goals, with some aiming too high and others, too low. It’s much easier to think about what we can realistically achieve in three months’ time, and map out a plan that will get us to the finish line.

3. It creates an opportunity to celebrate little wins.
With annual goals, you either win or lose, so to speak, once a year. There’s no way to use goals as a motivational tool for employees or a way to encourage collaboration between peers through recognition. By making goals quarterly, public and social, companies can use them to drive both employee development and engagement.

4. It allows employees to show progress.
Quarterly goals are incredibly valuable to managers, too, who can use them to track employee progress. When we’re stuck in the day-to-day activities of our jobs, it’s hard to see progress. Quarterly goals create a natural stopping point to take stock of how far we have – or haven’t – come. Staying on top of goal achievement can help managers redirect employees who are stalling in their progress and recognize employees who are on track.

5. It enables employees to build on their success.
Mentally, it’s much easier to tackle a series of smaller goals than it is to achieve one big one. That’s one of the great things about quarterly goals. Employees can think about what they really want to accomplish in a year’s time, and then set four smaller goals that will get them there. If they are progressing more quickly than they originally planned, they can reach even higher with their end goal. If they’re not hitting their milestones, quarterly goals give employees a chance to adjust at different points through the year vs. having nothing to show for their work come December.

6. It empowers the entire organization to think about development all year long.
When goals are woven into the fabric of everyday activities, development becomes an important part of your company culture. Quarterly goal setting keeps development top of mind for employees year round, pushing them to think strategically about their careers and what they need to accomplish their goals. It also creates an opportunity for employees and managers to talk more openly about what success looks like for them and what they need to do to get ahead.

There you have it. Six BIG reasons why quarterly goals can be effective at leveling up your employees – and your business’ success.


Have you downloaded Josh Bersin’s latest report yet, Talent, Technology, and HR Predictions for 2019?

While many businesses may have similar accounting or legal processes, their people processes are just as unique as their workforces themselves. Each year, HR leaders turn to industry analysts and experts for their take on what’s new and transformative in the world of HR technology.

At the top of that list of experts is often Josh Bersin. His newest report doesn’t disappoint, providing some serious food for thought on where HR leaders should zoom in this year. Bersin covers quite a bit of ground, but we wanted to call out some interesting stats and ideas on performance management and the employee experience.

96% of companies are still performing annual reviews.

Yes, you read that correctly. And worse, everyone still hates them. In order for annual reviews to be valuable, companies need to do two things:

1. Add in continuous feedback, regular coaching, and agile goal setting. Annual performance reviews aren’t bad, they just aren’t enough. By focusing on development and employee relationships every day, the annual review gets a chance to be so much more.

2. Change the behavior of managers. Implementing a technology platform is important, but so is changing your management culture. For technology to be effective, managers must have a coaching mentality, be able to give and receive feedback, and drive a team culture where development is built into their everyday lives.


The employee experience matters – big time.

So much so that it comes in at #3 in his 10 quick predictions for the year. The first step in creating a great employee experience is getting company leadership on board with what it actually means. We like Bersin’s definition from the report: “To me, employee experience means understanding what your employees need and treating them with the same care and importance you apply to customers.”

The way to treat employees like customers? Collect and understand your workforce data, with the same gusto as you do your customer data. Uncovering the trends and anomalies can help you understand where to focus your HR efforts. Are you losing employees too quickly? Are employees in certain departments or teams consistently falling short of achieving their goals? Tracking things like performance conversations and goal achievement can help paint a clearer picture of organizational health.

There’s so much more to unpack in this latest Bersin report. It’s definitely not a resource to be missed.

A new year, a new list. The latest one to catch our eye is the 2019 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. It’s the country’s largest ongoing annual workforce study, representing the thoughts of more than 3.4 million employees.

Often times these lists create division rather than inspiration. How can smaller companies compete with the employee experiences created by massive well-known brands with astronomical budgets? In many ways, they can’t. Outrageous perks, generous benefits, and over-the-top office spaces cost money that only a fraction of businesses can afford.

That said, the employee experience is so much more than free lunches and Instagram-worthy work spaces. Think: how employees interact, the impact of the company mission on culture, and the opportunities employees have to grow and develop.

Bottom line: the employee experience is created by the way a company manages, engages, and develops its team.

And the employee experience matters – more so than perks and benefits: 76% of Millennials say professional development is one of the most important elements of company culture. For Generation Z, it is the number one reason they accept a job.

So, how do the best companies to work for stack up? We took a look at the list’s top three companies and investigated how seriously they take performance management and employee engagement. (Spoiler alert: they take it VERY seriously, and rightfully so.)

#1 Hilton’s commitment to its mission
What stands out about the hotel giant is the way the executive team lives and breathes the company mission: “To be the most hospitable company in the world—by creating heartfelt experiences for Guests, meaningful opportunities for team members, high value for Owners and a positive impact in our Communities.”

With a “hospitality for all” mindset, Hilton has created a culture where all employees, regardless of role or level, are treated like guests. Hilton identified five key behaviors of leaders within this “For All” mindset. They include:

  • Building trust with all employees regardless of position
  • Using goals to reinforce the company mission and meaningfully connect employees to it
  • Encouraging a growth mindset through development
  • Using recognition to celebrate both individual and team wins
  • Creating and strengthening employee relationships and connections


#2 Salesforce sets up managers for success
The runner up on this year’s list, Salesforce has certainly made a name for itself with its long list of perks and an undeniable “cool” factor. These help attract the brightest college grads across technology and other fields.

With youth comes inexperience, but Salesforce smartly created a program to help its young employees transition into managers. A few years ago the company rolled out a new program to help speed the learning curve. It created a set of criteria to be a great leader, and through a variety of leadership training programs, helps managers identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to improve.

The investment in the program benefits not only the new managers, but all employees who then report to them. It’s a win-win for all.


#3 Wegmans puts employees at the top
Wegmans puts its commitment to employees front and center, right there in the middle of the company philosophy:

“At Wegmans, we believe that good people, working toward a common goal, can accomplish anything they set out to do. In this spirit, we set our goal to be the very best at serving the needs of our customers. Every action we take should be made with this in mind. We also believe that we can achieve our goal only if we fulfill the needs of our own people. To our CUSTOMERS and our PEOPLE we pledge continuous improvement, and we make the commitment: Every day you get our best.”

While the company puts its employees first, the result is a serious case study in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Wegmans ranked second in the 2018 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient Rankings overall, and ranked first in workplace environment.

But if you think the grocery chain only shows employees love with expensive perks and benefits, think again. Instead Wegmans invested $50 million in employee development, focuses on things like training programs and scholarships.


Yes, cool perks can bring candidates in the door. But they don’t do much to create sticky work environments that drive engagement and loyalty over time. That’s possible only by focusing on making employees feel welcomed and valued through the way they’re managed and developed.

It’s no longer your grandfather’s workforce. How we work, where we work, and why we work have all changed.

As work as we know it evolves, so, too, should the way we engage with employees. Many HR teams have updated their processes and policies in order to attract and retain employees in our current work environment. Things like perks and paid time off have taken center stage in the quest to be an employer of choice to choosy individuals in this tight talent market.

Instead of free lunches and unlimited PTO, could a better performance management approach be the answer? Dive in to find out.

How We Work

You have some direct reports (or not). You have a boss, who used to have your job. And your boss has a boss, who used to have their job. You’re all walking along the same career path, at the same pace. This describes how organizations have traditionally been structured, called a functional hierarchy. While it may work for a select few, for many others it no longer meets the needs of the way we work. In fact, only 24% of large companies consider themselves functionally organized.

Many companies have transitioned to a new model of work based on what Josh Bersin calls a “Network of teams.” This organizational structure takes a cue from other industries who have long relied on a team-based approach. Technology companies pioneered the agile model, bringing together temporary technical teams to develop new products and functionality. And consulting firms have also long operated on a project-based model, assembling teams for client engagements.

While this new model better meets the needs of businesses, it can be problematic from a performance management standpoint. How can managers accurately assess performance when their direct reports regularly work on projects outside of their purview?

The answer? Feedback.

Creating a feedback culture is critical to making an agile organizational structure work. Peer-to-peer feedback, project retrospectives, and employee-requested group feedback all help paint a clearer picture of performance. And with that continuous, multi-directional feedback, managers can get the insights they desperately need to understand their employees’ performance and coach them to improve.


Where We Work

Raise your hand if your entire company works out of the same physical office? Go ahead, we’ll wait.

The reality is that it’s highly unlikely that all employees work in the same location, for many reasons. You might need a developer with a niche skill, and can only find a resource in another city. Or, you may have a tight budget for a graphic designer, and can only make the numbers work if you hire in a city with a lower market rate.

Technology has made it possible for remote teams to not only function, but thrive. Email, text, Slack, Salesforce, Trello. Communication, collaboration, and project management tools all give us the connection we need to be a team and still work independently (and in different locations).

The downside to a scattered or remote workforce is its potentially negative effect to the employee-manager relationship. If you’re not working in the same location as your boss, it can be more difficult for them to see when you’re having challenges, sense when you may be unhappy in your role, or help you celebrate the little wins that help you reach your goals.

The answer? Check-ins. A once-a-year cadence for managers and employees to talk about performance doesn’t work, especially when there are miles between them. More regularly talking about goals, issues, or even ordinary everyday activities keeps managers better connected and in tune with their direct reports. And, a stronger manager-employee relationship keeps employees happier, too.


Why We Work

For today’s employees, it’s not just about a paycheck. Here’s two stats to prove it.

  1. 90% of employees would give up 23% of their pay for more meaningful work.
  2. Employees who find work meaningful stay with their companies more than seven months longer than others, put in an extra hour a week, and take two fewer PTO days.

We all want to find meaning in our work, to make the hours we spend away from our family and friends valuable as well. In fact, we published an entire study on how to create meaning for employees at work. So how can you help create meaningful environments for employees? And what’s the role of managers?

The answer? Goals. A modern approach to goals can go a long way to helping employees find meaning. Encouraging employees to set long-term career goals – and keep their career path in mind as they set smaller goals – can drive a deeper connection to their work.


**This news is prior to the combined company’s rebrand to Kazoo in April 2019.**


A little over 5 ½ years ago, my cofounder, Kenny Tomlin, and I set out to develop an employee-first solution that would deliver a more powerful employee experience while transforming bottom-line business results for companies everywhere

Our focus on empowering companies to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces has driven us to transform our product platform to a holistic employee productivity, engagement, and performance management solution. And the most important component: the focus on the employee first and last.

From the start, YouEarnedIt has been committed to the vision of giving employees what they deserve when it comes to a better employee experience – and to serving companies as they seek better business performances. This past April, we chose to partner with Vista Equity Partners as they saw the vision and expressed a commitment to supporting us to achieve it, better, smarter, and faster.

Today, I’m happy to announce the next stage of that growth: YouEarnedIt is joining forces with HighGround, a leading real-time performance management and engagement provider, to revolutionize the Human Capital Management industry.

By pairing HighGround’s approach to performance management, and the innovations that we collectively bring in real-time recognition and feedback, engagement measurement, and employee-driven rewards, we are now able to serve our customers’ needs better, ensuring they have one partner to turn to as they seek to enhance their employee experience and build high-performing, engaged teams.

I’ve admired HighGround for a long time, watching as they evolved over the years and became a leader in real-time performance management and engagement, and am honored to announce this partnership today. Collectively, our complementary solutions now serve the human capital management needs of today’s changing workforce.

By uniting our two brands, we will have expanded resources to accelerate our combined product roadmap to deliver innovative solutions to our customers and the market at large.

Together, YouEarnedIt and HighGround will continue our shared commitment to lead the market so that finally companies can transform the employee experience in a way that transforms business for the better.

– Autumn Manning

Co-founder and former CEO, Kazoo


As we all know, diversity at technology startups has come under scrutiny — especially in engineering departments. Earlier this year, I went on the record about “bro” culture with Business Insider. I strongly believe leadership has a prominent role in preventing these sorts of toxic cultures, and I have seen firsthand how they can disengage current employees as well as recruiting prospects.

Chris Rice, Kazoo’s VP of Engineering, is one of the leaders helping shape our culture. The Kazoo team has doubled in size multiple times since Chris joined (Side note: We’re still hiring!), and in dealing with the challenges that come with growth, we’ve applied our company’s “Leave it Better” core value to everything from hiring practices to community outreach efforts.

Kazoo Interview - VP of Engineering

We recently sat down for a Q&A with Chris (seen on the left in the photo above during one of our Leave It Better volunteer days) on our engineering hiring process. It was a great reflection on where we’ve been, where we are today, and where we’d like to go with it.

Our #LeaveItBetter blog posts aim to answer pressing questions about inclusion, leadership, and building a strong business culture. While Chris and I will both tell you our engineering hiring process isn’t perfect, it’s certainly come a long way. If your company is tackling these tough questions, we invite you to browse this Q&A and learn along with us.

What led to wanting to #LeaveItBetter with our engineering hiring process? What needed to change in terms of what Kazoo had done in the past as a much smaller company?

Chris Rice, VP of Engineering: For me, as I reflect on our previous hires, I think we’ve made some really great hires. The question I asked myself was: “Have we turned away really good engineers at times? Are we currently looking at talent that we shouldn’t? Are we positioning our career ads in ways that end up neglecting parts of the population?”

I reflect on that in terms of wanting to grow and learn personally; wanting to find the best talent possible for our team.

Then you look at the fact that we currently don’t have any female engineers. You say, “No, that’s not intentional!” but it certainly warrants investigation. We began asking ourselves why things are the way they are. This doesn’t just come down to gender, race or anything else, it’s simply, “Are we excluding people from the running by not having the best testing possible or testing for things we don’t care about?”

For example, one of the first things we did was start to break down what the aspects of an engineering candidate that we care about as a team are, then separate the aspects we don’t care about. Medium actually posted their own hiring standards publicly for the qualities they do and do not look for in people — we thought that was a great approach and decided to mimic it. We wanted to make sure we’re evaluating what we care about and not evaluating what we don’t.

A lot of has been said about inequality and unconscious bias at tech companies recently, particularly within engineering teams. What has stood out to you? Are there any anecdotes or other input that have sparked the team’s thinking around this?

Chris Rice: This is something that’s pretty hard to ignore in the industry these days. It’s talked about a lot, and it’s definitely an issue. You think about certain perspectives that have been voiced about female engineers, and it’s hard not to react to that as someone in the industry.

Yes, the headlines have definitely had an impact, but the thing that’s most impactful is that even without these really salient incidents, we have people that we’ve brought on that are really empathetic and fair. And no matter what, they want to be fair to others. Even if the industry weren’t up in arms, I think we’d want to be looking at the same things we’re looking at today.

What specific actions has Kazoo taken to address this?

Chris Rice: We started stripping personal information from resumes and reviews. We wanted to get to the basic facts about experience and skills. We’ve stripped education information as well — this was identified as an aspect we don’t care about for candidates. There have been enough examples in the industry that tell us where you went to school — or whether you even went — doesn’t necessarily matter. At the end of the day, you can have a fantastic candidate who’s had any level of education.

We also took a close look at the take-home quizzes we were giving to engineering candidates. For the most part, we’ve always avoided the typical “brain teaser” problems, but in evaluating it, some of our questions didn’t deal with engineering problems that were relevant to the job they’d be doing here. Those might have been excluding certain candidates and their experience.

We also changed how we evaluate the take-home exams. We used to administer it, then give a pass-fail grade based on what was turned in. Now we have a collaborative interview along with the submission of the solution. What were they thinking when they came up with their submitted solution? Then we do a pair programming session with them on the solution to work on ways to improve it. That ends up being a fairer evaluation than someone’s ability to respond to a timed quiz devoid of teamwork aspects.

In interviews, there’s this balance between wanting to really dig in and understand the person — their motivators, their skills — with the team’s time being precious and having an effective process in place for evaluating multiple candidates. If you’re not careful, the mechanisms on either side can be too “greedy” and rule out people they shouldn’t have.

Where would we like to be with this? What does success look like?

Chris Rice: The end goal is more diversity on the team. (Diversity can come in all shapes and sizes. Diversity of background, race, gender, etc.) To elaborate on that, I’d say the end goal is fair hiring practices, and diversity is the end consequence of that.

Ignoring signs of a potential problem — signs of potential bias — is the biggest failure.

— Chris Rice, VP of Engineering, Kazoo

One measure of success is that we’re looking at and analyzing these areas of our process in the first place. To me, ignoring signs of a potential problem — signs of potential bias — is the biggest failure. Taking the time to analyze that and make sure we’re being both fair to candidates as well as casting a wide net and bringing in the best people we can is one measure of success. If you’re doing that, then diversity naturally follows.

Kazoo has been having company-wide discussions on unconscious bias and encouraging employees to look into “bias busting” materials that deal with these. Have these been useful for you? Has anything in particular stood out as something to take action on?

Chris Rice: I was able to take one of the exams today. (The gender-career test.) The result of that test was a “slight” bias registered for “Men in Career” and “Females in Family.” For me, that’s something that needs to be investigated. I think it’s great that Kazoo is doing these discussions and trainings. Rather than say, “I’m not biased!” it gives me an opportunity to be more conscious of this and consciously fight potential bias rather than assume that I’m unbiased.

Leave it Better with Autumn Manning is a Q&A series with Kazoo’s CEO to discuss hot topics in leadership, culture, and women in tech as part of our ongoing effort to leave business better. Send questions or comments to [email protected] or via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook using the hashtag #LeaveItBetter.

About Autumn Manning
Autumn Manning is co-founder and CEO of Kazoo, a leading HR SaaS company that improves bottom-line performance metrics by enhancing the employee experience. With a background in human capital management and expertise in enhancing corporate culture, she carries out the company’s vision to improve the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Profiled in The New York Times and HuffPost, Autumn’s thoughts on culture and leadership have been featured in Inc., Business Insider, and Entrepreneur. Under her leadership, Kazoo created the world’s most robust employee experience platform and was named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017.

The predictable irrationality of human beings is something that never ceases to amaze me. Dan Ariely paints this picture for us in a way that surely leaves us all slapping our foreheads, wondering how we, too, fall prey to irrational lines of thinking on a regular basis.

Nowhere is this more evident than when we are facing hard times with our businesses – when the economy is in a temporary decline, or competition has released a better product and sales are stalling. Or maybe that same competition is stealing your best sales reps by touting a better culture and a chance to be on the next rocket ship to the moon.

What do we do? Time and time again, I see people making a choice to cut back on the things that are keeping your best people around in the first place: culture.

Have you heard the saying, penny-wise but pound-foolish? That’s when we do something that saves us a little bit of money now, but ends up costing us big in the future. Let’s look at this saying in the context of the rock-and-a-hard-place dilemmas many businesses find themselves in: making personnel cuts during hard times in order to survive. While cuts may be necessary, are you looking at how some of those cuts themselves compromise your company’s ability to thrive down the line and win in the long run?

The question is, how can we be pound-wise, especially during difficult times? It’s easier said than done, to be sure, to keep our heads when the market is soft, when acquisitions and mergers are triggering reorganizations and layoffs and impacting business efficiencies, or when changing consumer habits lead to an industry-wide restructuring.

Right now, one industry that’s finding itself in flux is the retail industry. Many retailers are facing difficult times and their businesses are going through a painful transition.

Traditionally the knee-jerk reaction from businesses during times like this is one, cut your marketing spend and two, cut your HR spend. Those are usually the first to go.

I view this decision as a good move for metrics management today, but not a great leadership move for the long-term. If you want to keep your people, and keep them engaged and performing during difficult transitions, then communicating your commitment to the success of the team, of the business, and the long-term mission is exactly what your folks need to hear. So the areas you’re tempted to cut are exactly the ones you’re going to need operating at a stronger and more effective level than ever before.

HR can help you get through these times and prepare your workforce to face the future as a united team. Let’s say you’re behind in numbers and you’ve got to make cuts across the board, wherever you can find them. Headcounts, systems – everywhere. And now think about how the team is feeling because of this. Morale is down. People are wondering, what’s happening to my team, my department, my boss – and am I next?

As a result, productivity weakens, fear is high, and those people you’ve chosen to keep may decide to leave.

Remember that a big part of leading through change is giving employees exactly what keeps them motivated and engaged despite the changes, and helps them see the light at the end of the tunnel. One way to do this is to keep in mind what employees want, day in and day out. We’ve distilled it down to the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. Sometimes those are delivered in the form of an affirmation of your company’s vision and mission. Sometimes it’s a thank you.

And sometimes, it’s as simple as meaningful feedback for the work they are doing to contribute:

When you choose to cut budget that delivers these things to reduce some expense in the short-term, the impact can be costly in the long-term, and felt by many. Let me paint the real cost to you when this happens:

  • 50% of your staff may not stay, or may not stay as long as they would have if they felt more appreciated.
  • Failing to provide regular feedback and recognition can dramatically affect your rate of retention and turnover.
  • Lack of gratitude, culture, or connection to a purpose can factor heavily into why employees today choose to stay or go.
  • Based on the findings in Gallup’s State of the Workplace 2017, it’s clear that removing – or not investing in the first place – in systems that create a culture of engagement is bad for long-term costs:

As a CEO, I recognize that cuts still need to be made; but also as a CEO, I’m a fan of making decisions with my eyes wide open. If the logic is sound, and cutting people-programs is clearly in your best interest, then that’s the decision that needs to be made. But be aware of the alternative view on this logic – a view that suggests making cuts to programs that clearly impact morale, the culture, and one’s ability to stay engaged throughout the tough times may be the very definition of an act that is penny-wise but pound-foolish.

A solid approach to engagement is critical to maintaining company cohesiveness, communication during a time when people are scared, and a sense of community and culture when your business needs it most. Whether or not you use Kazoo to achieve these goals, consider keeping (and even investing more in) your current people and HR programs.

You can manage the expenses today, but you can’t lead the team to win tomorrow by being penny-wise but pound-foolish. In the long term, our survival depends on our ability to grow our connections to our colleagues and our commitment to core values as we weather the current storms.

About Autumn Manning
Autumn Manning is one of the happiest CEO’s in the world. She spends her days surrounded by a smart team at Kazoo and combines her background in behavioral psychology, human capital management, and building corporate culture to create the world’s best employee experience platform. LinkedIn Twitter

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 youearnedit.com/demo.

Kids look to public and private figures, both ones at home and those in the spotlight, as role models for career potential, for what to be as they grow into adults, and how to view and react to the world. When I was younger, I knew I wanted to have freedom of choice when it came to my career. I looked to my mother as a strong, confident woman who built a strong career despite many challenging situations (raising five kids, followed by an accident that left her immobile for close to a year), to become a nurse, and then go back to school to become a nurse practitioner. The strength, commitment, hustle and grit, and most of all, the vision for her life served as a strong model to me.

As a woman in business today, the importance of these role models doesn’t go away but they do become harder to find the further up the ladder you look. For younger women just starting out in their careers, finding these role models early on is critical if we’re ever going to change the dynamics of those sitting around the table, and thus changing the results our businesses will realize.

The ability to relate to other female leaders and have concrete examples of what’s possible in business, especially in tech, is clearly a challenge. The presence of female leaders is still smaller than it should be, but we all know this. It’s still worth pointing out the disappointing stats associated with females in leadership positions as we look to the model we are setting for the next generation of leaders:

  • Only 4.2% of Fortune 500 companies are led by females. Yet, when you look at the entire labor force in the US, women make up just shy of half of the workforce (Source: Statistical Overview of Women in the Workforce; Fortune Knowledge Group).
  • Women are now the leading breadwinners in over 40% of US households. In 1960, this number was only 11%. And even still, women claim they still own 2/3 of the house and childcare responsibilities (Source: The New Breadwinners).

Female CEO Autumn Manning and Kids

Because of these numbers, it’s easy for people to walk away with the impression that women don’t have what it takes to be successful in leadership positions. Is that true, though? Or is it the case that women can and should work, but lack the skills when it comes to leading? Well, here’s some proof that challenges the flawed assumption that women don’t have what it takes:

  • According to a study by Zenger Folkman looking at 16 leadership dimensions – the ones that are highly correlated with success in leadership positions – women were rated higher in 12 of the 16 traits. The highest scoring traits for women? Driving for Results and Initiative (Source: Harvard Business Review, “Are Women Better Leaders than Men?”).
  • “Women-led private technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieving 35% higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, bringing in 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech companies, according to research conducted by the Kauffman Foundation” (Source: Women in Technology: Evolving, Ready to Save the World).
  • The high-tech companies women build are more capital-efficient than the norm. The average venture-backed company run by a woman had achieved comparable early-year revenues, using an average of one-third less committed capital (Source: Illuminate Ventures, Women in High Tech).

And on and on.

This type of data and the results breed confidence in many, to believe they have what it takes to step into roles that otherwise might hold back from. Because I am a female CEO, because today is good reason to bring up this topic, and because I had to personally overcome the lie I told myself for years that perhaps I don’t have what it takes, I love seeing William Tincup’s list of 300+ Women in HR Technology Worth Watching on Recruiting Daily. It’s an opportunity to see what other women in the field are doing to impact the future of the workplace using technology and to celebrate their accomplishments.

Bravo to each of you for seeing an opportunity, seeing the statistics that work against motivating you, and leading anyway.

About Autumn Manning
Autumn Manning is one of the happiest CEO’s in the world. She spends her days surrounded by a smart team at Kazoo and combines her background in behavioral psychology, human capital management, and building corporate culture to create the world’s best employee experience platform. LinkedIn Twitter

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform that scales the core of an organization’s culture. As companies evolve, champions for the employee experience need a solution that appreciates and adapts to what makes their culture unique. In one trailblazing platform, Kazoo provides real-time recognition, transformational behavior bonuses, continuous feedback, and actionable analytics to deliver an unmatched employee experience and a powerful return on investment. When people feel connected to core values and one another, cultures and organizations thrive — because Kazoo. Visit youearnedit.com for more information or schedule a quick chat with our employee engagement pros to see if we can help.

What does good recognition look like? We get that question a lot. If you think the answer should be obvious, try to think back to the last time you gave someone recognition that mattered, that moved them, and that actually connected to them in the way you had hoped. It’s more difficult that you think!

I can recall a time that I wanted to tell a co-worker that they really mattered to me, that their contribution was so important, and to PLEASE NEVER LEAVE ME!!! What ended up coming out was some awkward attempt at a muffled “thank you”. I walked away feeling creepy, uncomfortable, and frustrated that the opportunity to make a difference to that person (and to me) was lost on the weird exchange.

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Aside from how you give it, the amount of times you give it is important. According to Harvard Business Review, the praise-to-criticism ratio is important to team and individual effectiveness (not to mention one’s sanity, happiness at work, and frankly liking those you work with). For every one negative comment or piece of feedback, it will take five to six positive ones to overcome. Think about your day today, and think back to the last time you gave positive feedback to someone in any form, much less a productive, effective, actionable way.

So, the question of “what does good recognition looks like?” is good question. Employee recognition and fostering happiness at work can happen on many levels. Inside the Kazoo system (an employee recognition software), we see all kinds. Saying a simple “thank you” versus expressing a genuine note of gratitude are both key, but do very different things to the sender and receiver. We’ve taken a cue from Barbara Fredrickson’s 10 positive emotions research, and then added some of our own to outline all the ways you can say thanks, connect with someone, or continue driving happiness at work through recognition. Having a little fun with real examples taken from real customers of Kazoo, below are ways to send meaningful recognition:

10 Ways to Give Recognition

Who knew you could give recognition on so many levels? Happiness at work is amazingly simple, but as we all know, human emotions are not. Giving the right recognition at the right time can go a long way. Next time you are thinking of recognizing a coworker, the first step is to simply do it! The next step is to consider what matters most at the time, or which emotion you are trying to convey, and get a little more specific with your recognition. The impact can be profound.

I want to close with one question. Comment below and let us know the last time you gave meaningful recognition to a coworker. Mine was yesterday, and this is what I said through the Kazoo system to someone on the team: “Where would I be without you?”

For more ideas on how to recognize and engage employees, click below for the Ultimate Guide on How to Engage Millennial Employees:

Happy GenY Girl
Happy GenY Girl

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