There seems to be a lot of advice on ways to do employee recognition nowadays, but very few of them are fun. Sure, it’s nice to tell your employees that they are being recognised for their good work, but it’s very difficult to build employee engagement without a degree of fun.
Fun is a word that gets used a lot when describing things outside of work, so it’s no wonder that it rarely gets a mention in work due to the connotations that it has with relaxation. At WooBoard, we like the word fun because it has a lot of positive connotations, and when paired with work, can make anything instantly better.

How to create a sense of fun in an employee recognition program

One of the best ways to build an employee recognition program is to centre it around something fun, and find ways to incorporate fun into employee recognition. It’s not an easy feat to do, and can be very difficult if you find it doesn’t fit with your company culture. When done well though, the results can be extraordinary.
Nevertheless, here are 3 fun ways to do an employee recognition program.

  1. Create an award around fun personalities:
    One of the best and most fun ways to build a employee recognition program is to create an award based on the personality of a person, rather than performance. For instance, if an employee brightens people’s day with their smile, or has a great laugh, why not call that out? If someone makes work more enjoyable, have an award for that.
  2. Blend in a sense of humour into your recognition.
    Perhaps someone has a great, but embarrassing story that they tell well, or a great nickname. Creating a humorous award shows employees that as a management team you actually listen. One of the best awards we’ve ever seen was referred to as the “David Boon Moustache Award for Inappropriate Moustaches”. Though this award is meaningless, it shows that the company has a sense of humour. That matters.
  3. Make a fun day, to recognise your employees in a fun way
    It goes without saying that employee recognition is a very important thing to do. While there are many different ways to recognise employees for doing good work, one of the best ways is to create a fun day to recognise that good work. Whether it is something small like going out to a bowling alley, or a day of hiking, taking employees outside of the office helps create a sense that they are more than just employees of a company, but part of one tribe.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoardtoday.


The Dunning-Kruger effect represents one of the most comprehensive models as to why people who have a tendency to have little to no idea about what they’re doing, have supreme confidence in their abilities. In the workplace, this often translates to “over-promise, under-deliver”.

Probably the most classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action is in reference to Donald Trump. While is probably not the most correct example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action, as ultimately Trump was able to win the election (to the surprise of many), it represents the inverse correlation between confidence and competence. In the workplace this can have significant impacts on both team dynamics and productivity.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect in Action

The Dunning-Kruger effect describes the psychological phenomenon of those with little ability in an area, grossly overestimating their competence. Conversely, it also describes the underestimation of an experts view of their mastery of a given topic, commonly referred to as “imposter syndrome”. It seems we as humans are very poor at rating our own performance and ability. This goes even further, with the lowest performing of us overrating by the most, leading to resistance when given feedback reflecting this poor performance.

Dunning-Kruger Effect in the workplace

Evolutionarily, the Dunning-Kruger effect makes sense. The brain seeks to make sense of the complex and dynamic world around it, and does so by seeking patterns which provide shortcuts to understanding called heuristics. These allow quick decisions to be made, but sometimes they can lead to mistakes, as they give the impression that the practitioner has greater knowledge than they actually possess through the recognition of the pattern.

This pattern of behaviour feeds into workplace culture. As individuals can believe in their competence due to their quick decision making, or through general confidence believe they are more competent in their role, direct credit to themselves leading to quick promotion.

This leads to both resentment felt by their colleagues, and sometimes the best and brightest being left behind in the same positions. Furthermore, having those who cannot see their lack of competence on your team can be frustrating for management.

Strategies to deal with the Dunning-Kruger Effect

So what can be done about this?

Firstly, ensure monitoring of performance is done in concrete and quantifiable measures. Setting performance targets based around team play instead of individual effect on the team can mitigate this.

Another strategy is to encourage a mentoring culture. Though we as humans are generally poor at giving self-feedback and self analysis, feedback that comes from a more senior employee from a place of assistance with learning is often received more favourably. If this can be a frequent part of professional development for employees, individual team members can over time become better at appreciating their own performance with reference to others. Mentoring culture is a very powerful asset in building an effective, productive work environment, with employees at their best.

Ultimately, employees who fall victim to the Dunning-Kruger effect are not bad people and not even necessarily bad workers. Through mentoring and through honest, concrete feedback, employees can appraise their performance.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.


It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers in HR

When it comes to HR, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers.

We’re constantly surrounded by metrics. In an era where dashboards are dominating almost every board meeting, and HRIS is the only source of truth, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to escape the ivory tower that is HR.

So, how do we put the human back into Human Resources?

If the value of HR is in the metrics, how do we take those metrics and ensure that they don’t dictate what we do, but reflect what we do. Human resources isn’t just about policy management, it’s about people management first and foremost. Once we move past the numbers, we can see that what we are dealing with is much bigger. Just try not to get lost in the numbers.

The real goal of HR

The real goal of HR is in the process, not the progress. Certainly, data is valuable to collect because it shows progress, but ultimately the goal is process. Valuable metrics such as lead time to hire of new employees, retention rates, and sick days are all significant pieces of data that can help you in the pursuit of more effective human resources management, but in order to move forward as a company, you’ll need to address the cause.

It’s easy to forget about the real goal of HR: finding and keeping the right people, making the business more effective and efficient, and ensuring adherence to process. These should all be difficult things to quantify, so when we do, we often think that we have the answer. The numbers only tell us half the story though. In a way, the only focusing on the numbers is akin to possessing a map of your company culture, but having no idea of where you want to go on the map. It’s better to start with what you believe to be true, and finding the numbers to back that up.

Here are some of the most common examples of HR getting caught up in the numbers:

Engagement surveys are for opinions, not data

I’ve recently heard from a number of colleagues that the jury is out on engagement surveys, with some having decided that they are no longer working. In fact, some of my friends in HR have recently declared them obsolete, or at least in dire need of reassessing. This is due to the fact that most of the questions are skewed to obtaining metrics, instead of finding answers. Use engagement surveys to find answers to your most pressing questions, instead of just finding data and metrics to present to the board.

Digital performance management tools need to be insights driven

Though it is easy to performance manage when numbers are the focus, performance management tools need to be insights driven instead of KPI driven. In using metric analysis, be sure to remember the context of the data and similarly, as digital performance management tools are not designed to be KPI centric, but instead provide you with insights into where you can improve.

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers in HR. Try not to get caught up!

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

Leadership style: what works best for employee engagement

If you’re a leader in your workplace, you’ll generally give a lot of directions. Whether by email or by direct verbal instruction, you may say things like “I want that report on my desk by Friday”.

Even worse is the so-called “micromanager”  who not only explains what they want done but how to do it in minute detail. In fact, these very direction heavy leadership styles are very common in many industries.

The military, for example, is based on a culture of direction following to the finest detail. Even in the cult television classic M*A*S*H was comprised of the medical stereotype of “scalpel nurse, scalpel doctor” for the series.

But is this the most effective leadership style for a cohesive work environment?

The term micromanager probably calls to mind the worst boss you ever had and makes you cringe involuntarily. These are probably not the most engaged memories you have of your time at work, so how can we as leaders engage our employees more effectively?


Leadership by intent

Intent-based leadership was developed by former naval Captain David Marquet, who developed this leadership style in the extremely regimented environment of the navy. The fact that it’s survived and proliferated so far is a testament to how effective it is.
He recognised that as a Captain trained to give orders, and his soldiers trained to follow them unequivocally, he could potentially lead his soldiers into a disastrous situation due to him giving the wrong order.

If everyone followed him off a cliff, are they soldiers or lemmings? Marquet vowed to stop giving orders and instead allowed his officers to tell him what their intent was, having been given the environment or the overarching goals that the team was to achieve. The effect was to change the psychological ownership of an action from himself to that of his subordinates, both giving them a sense of meaning at work and allowing for a reduction in delay time between orders given and actions achieved.


Giving control

It is important in any company to ensure the technical competence of your staff and that staff actions are in line with the overarching goals of the company. By providing clarity of goals that your company wishes to achieve, actions that employees undertake will be done to as high a degree as possible.

If the execution of the action to achieve these goals aren’t exactly the same what was done in the past,  they’re likely to be better, as the authority rests where the information does, i.e. those who make the decisions have the most understanding.

This makes sense in industries where the goals are straightforward, such as in healthcare where care of patients is the common goal. Contrary to the stereotype discussed earlier, army doctors often formulate plans to present to their supervisors, who then provide approval. In this instance, the knowledge and understanding of the situation is ensured between both parties.

Ultimately, you can achieve this leadership style in your workplace by having a strong sense of company values, then shifting the locus of control to your employees, keeping them engaged and giving them a sense of meaning.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

Adopting an attitude of gratitude

Everyone loves a good slogan.

That’s why phrases like “Live. Laugh. Love” are plastered across houses over the world. We love to distill messages into phrases that can be pushed out into the world. One of the ones that we use here at WooBoard is the “attitude of gratitude”.

The attitude of gratitude is a simple but effective way for us to build our culture. We don’t need to use corporate jargon to show gratitude, as it is simply our attitude that breeds this positive mentality. It shows each of our team members that we care for each other, and helps bring about a culture that rewards people for being thankful. Adopting an attitude of gratitude helps the company at every layer, influencing our team decisions and overall team culture every step of the journey. But why does it work so well?

Why gratitude works

Gratitude works because it helps us bring context into everything we do, at a company and team level.

On a day-to-day basis, gratitude is simply the practice of saying thank you. This can be to an individual person, environment, or even a situation that presents itself. It’s very difficult to practice on day in and day out, but once we started to do it we noticed a general lift in company morale.

How to adopt gratitude in the workplace:

Start with specifics:

Gratitude starts with seeing what to be grateful for. For that, you’re going to need to understand and be observant of your surroundings. It isn’t easy by any stretch, but it is well worth it.

Follow with why:

The next part to consider when adopting gratitude in the workplace is to consider why you should be grateful. Gratefulness needs context. Understand why it’s good to be grateful. Is it because your colleagues get benefit from it? Is it for your own personal reasons? Find your why.

Understand the how:

Gratefulness needs some kind of guidelines to function effectively. Without guidelines, it won’t be effective. Some companies have their own internal language to describe different methods of saying “thank you”, like an assist.

Take down the walls:

Finally, the best way to practice gratefulness at work is to remove the barriers between employees to be able to say thank you. Freedom of expression is hard in an environment that does not have open lines of communication. Allowing for this will help build a culture of gratitude.

Having an attitude of gratitude is so important, for both personal and professional reasons. Here at WooBoard we pride ourselves on being able to say thank you, we even built an app for that!

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

The cost of doing nothing about employee engagement

When it comes to employee engagement, you have a few options as to how you can execute. One of those options is to do nothing. If your company culture is “work only”, and doesn’t offer much in the way of cultural outlets, then you can choose to not consider your employee engagement as a cost savings measure. For some this can mean a minor cost saving on the bottom line, year on year. However, the cost of doing this could be far greater than the simple implementation cost of using an employee engagement program.

For instance, if you lose your newly recruited employees to lack of engagement, the costs can blowout. The first six months in an employee’s time is crucial, with 90% of newly recruited employees deciding to stay in an organisation within this period. With a lack of emphasis paid to employee engagement, only 24% of employees in Australian workplaces are engaged, whilst 16% are actively disengaged. The Gallup Report which discovered the paucity in employee engagement stated that this costs $54.8 billion of the Australian economy annually.

A new employee sets out with the right intention. They seek a simple recruitment process to get them into the right role for them, and then to be able to perform the requirements of their job without letting the company or their team down. When they feel these goals are not attainable, they become disengaged. So how do you stop the cash drain and keep your employees engaged?

The simple answer is culture, but the implications of this become a little more complex.

The importance of company culture

Your internal brand, and how you implement it, is key in recruiting and retaining effective employees. Having a good understanding of your company values and what they represent can lead to asking candidates about their own personal values aligning with your company values during the recruitment process.

This strategy enables you to recruit candidates who are the right “fit” for your company. Not only will they get along with other employees, but the sense of teamwork at a department and company level will be enhanced. 

Additionally, recruiting candidates who uphold the company values as their own personal values are likely to champion the company culture when representing it to clients. These engaged employees are your money makers, your salespeople, and they should be highly valued in the recruitment process, potentially even above qualifications and academic achievements.

Trust and understanding

Developing a good rapport with your employees as management, being transparent or promoting trust and understanding should be part of the company culture in some shape or form.

Keeping the lines of communication open with your employees is incredibly valuable, as it prevents disengagement. You should ensure that all employees feel heard and valued and that any grievances they may have can be heard openly.

Gratitude and respect

Calling out your employees for their good work is another essential aspect of a positive work culture, and this should be represented in your company values in some way also. You should keep track of your employees achievements and regularly make a point of thanking them in front of their peers. This cannot be understated. Though you may give financial rewards for good work, verbally thanking your employees is extremely effective in reducing workplace stress in a way that cannot be generated by providing financial reward.

Though the Australian economy appears to be a crisis of disengagement, you can stop your company from falling prey to the same fate by improving your company culture in the aforementioned ways.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

Cultural breakdown: Comparing organisational, industry and company culture

Culture is a word that seems to be thrown around a lot nowadays. Though we say it all the time, very rarely do we understand the layers and intricacies of culture.

Cultural breakdown

Here is a breakdown of the three layers of culture in the workplace:

Industry culture is the unique set of values or ideals that underpin an industry.

Organisational culture on the other hand, is the unique ideas and values that underpin that company, and are defined by the workplace behaviours which set that company apart from the rest of its industry.

Company culture is how an organisation can make itself stand out amongst its competitors. In addition to this, with the right culture, employee engagement will improve, which will in turn boost productivity and the quality of work.


You can’t have one without the other

Both industry and organisational culture can have bad and good connotations. For example, in the healthcare industry, the culture is to be collegiate, diligent, problem solving and compassionate. However, there is a darker side in the industry. Overcompetitiveness, bullying, overwork and burnout are commonplace.

The distinction here between industry culture and organisational culture is that you can’t change industry culture, but you do have the power to change organisational culture. The way you do this is by instilling values, and acting to make employees feel appreciated and that their role is meaningful. If left uncultivated, organisational culture can work against the company, by breeding contempt and dissatisfaction amongst uninspired employees.

The same cannot be said of industry culture, as this represents a broadly believed stereotype of what professionals in that industry behave like, and a subsequent adherence to it. The good news is, that if you have a toxic culture in your organisation, this can be turned around with some well-placed campaigns.

Detoxifying culture through employee engagement

Addressing a toxic culture can be achieved by addressing the signs and symptoms. If you have cliquey, noncommunicative employees, give them praise for their work. Gratitude and praise readily improve employee engagement, and may lifts spirits around the office. Help social interaction between employees by gathering together frequently to call out workers personally for their achievements.

Using an employee engagement platform

Alternatively, if you have the means, create a platform for employee engagement which enables both employees and managers to see what achievements have been made, and making it clear who should be recognised and rewarded. This will also enable camaraderie between coworkers and hopefully they will congratulate each other.

Employ strategic allignment

Another strategy is to ensure expectations between management and employees align. There is nothing more disheartening than an employee feeling as though they are meeting their job requirements and then being told that they are not in a performance review. To remedy this situation, have an open leadership and feedback strategy. Continually track, review, and congratulate employees on reaching goals, helping them to understand their progress as it happens.

Decrease burnout through flex-time

The final factor leading to toxic cultures is when employees are overworked. This may be due to shortcomings in staffing. This can be avoided by effectively forecasting staff requirements prior to their need, so that staff can be efficiently recruited without periodic gaps in staffing. This will require examination of factors which may affect staff requirements, such as expansion of the company, product release or boom in the industry.

It’s in the definition

Put simply, company culture is important to get right, and toxicity should be avoided at all costs. Addressing toxic culture is a top priority of all managers, however, you should also engage with your employees to define your company culture. Considering these factors, and taking definitive action, will help your company to grow into an inclusive, engaging community.  

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.