What’s in a Woo

To “woo” is a sentiment as old the ages. Originally used to describe chatting up the opposite gender, it appeared as a sharp play-on-words making fun of mispronouncing “woe” as “woo” in Romeo and Juliet. Somewhere along the lines of history, “woo” has become a celebration, and appears in diverse settings in popular culture. From Blur to Homer Simpson to How I Met Your Mother, the “Woo” has become a cultural zeitgeist and is almost synonymous with excited white girls in their twenties. On WooBoard, the word “Woo” symbolises thanks or praise or the celebration of a win. When you send a Woo you are publicly recognizing one of your colleagues for their efforts.

It all starts with people feeling valued

We all want to be recognised for doing a good job, it’s a fundamental to being human. When we receive praise for our efforts, it reinforces the fact that other people care about us and our contribution to the team. This makes us feel good about ourselves, as well as those around us. When authentic praise is exchanged consistently between employees it builds a positive and enjoyable team environment, and engages and motivates your employees to be more productive in the workplace.

The Cost of Doing Nothing about Employee Engagement

You can do nothing about engagement. This can seem like a minor cost saving on the bottom line. However, choosing to avoid the simple implementation cost of an employee engagement program can cause the costs in employee turnover rates to blowout. The first six months in a new employee’s time is crucial, with 90% of newly recruited employees making the decision whether to stay in an organisation within this period. According to the Gallup report, only 24% of employees in Australian workplaces are engaged, whilst 16% are actively disengaged. This costs the Australian economy $54.8 billion annually.

The Simple Answer is in Company Culture

Your internal brand, and how you implement it, is key in recruiting and retaining effective employees. Bersin found that companies with effective recognition programs had 31% lower voluntary turnover, and that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their jobs. Conversely, 55% of employees stated they would leave their company to join a company with a strong culture of recognizing their staff.

Companies don’t give enough recognition

The majority of managers do not consistently recognize their employees when they do great work. And while 90% of business leaders think that a recognition strategy will improve business success, only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for recognition. Additionally, 67% of employees rate recognition as the top motivator for performance.

How WooBoard can help

The recognition game is changing. WooBoard is an innovative solution built for today’s workforce. It’s a fun, simple and lightweight solution that drives meaningful recognition and increases engagement.

“Making engagement happen will be the single most important business challenge of the next decade and the focal point of the war for talent”

Aon Hewitt

Trends in Global Employee Engagement (2014)

 

Inclusive workplaces: how to make your business LGBTIQ friendly

While Australia acknowledges at-risk queer youth with Wear It Purple! Day, Glassdoor.com is currently running an article on why now is the best time to make your workplace LGBTIQ friendly (1). I would argue that this change is probably long overdue, with even Australia now having passed same-sex marriage. Despite this, if you haven’t already thought about it, it is important to ensure your policies are up to date. Chances are, you’re a liberal manager and there is nothing overtly discriminatory about your business. However, you may not have realised the ways in the which your business can be positively aligned with the values of your LGBTIQ employees more explicitly. Follow these simple steps to engage your employees and make your workplace inclusive.

 

Affirm LGBTIQ identities

There are number of measures you can undertake to affirm the identities of your LGBTIQ employees, from environmental surveys (ensuring the office environment is affirming), competency training and resource groups. Resource groups are particularly useful to ensure your LGBTIQ employees are well represented in every level of the corporate environment. One example is to establish an Ally network, which incorporates both LGBTIQ- and heteronormative identifying employees who support and are inclusive to the needs of the community (2). Competency training, support network meetings and fun and inclusive events become a feature of these networks and can lift the overall office environment to improvement engagement levels across the board.

 

Benefits and incentives programs

It is vitally important to ensure that all benefits and incentives programs are diversified to be able to be accessed by all employees, particularly thinking about using non-gendered language to ensure same-sex couples can access parenting benefits, for example. These are key priorities in appealing to new recruits who are increasingly focused on job environment in addition to salary, and a significant proportion of the job market is taken up by LGBTIQ individuals who would be unintentionally excluded by non-inclusive language.

 

Support transgender employees

As the visibility of transgender-identifying persons has increased in the LGBTIQ community, it is also vitally important that managers support their transgender employees. There is a unique set of needs and considerations that transgender-identifying persons are affected by, particularly when going through transitions. Being generous with sick leave and ensuring a welcoming and supportive environment in the workplace are some of the gestures you can do to support your transgender-identifying employees as a manager. Human resources can play an important role by training and being educated as allies to effectively support transitioning employees.

 

Employee engagement

Ultimately it is up to you to be on the front foot when supporting your employees from any minority background, to ensure an inclusive and engaging workplace. These steps, and many more, that Glassdoor has to offer are important measures in the battle against employee disengagement. See the full guide in the article for a comprehensive overview of how to support your employees from the LGBTIQ community.

 

  1. https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/become-lgbtq-inclusive/
  2. https://www.monash.edu/student-diversity-inclusion/lgbtiq/the-ally-network
  3. https://library.glassdoor.com/c/how-to-create-an-inclusive-culture-empowering-lgbtq-employees?x=y9fUVX

 

“Flow-thinking” states: how to encourage your employees to be at one with their work

Daniel Kahneman’s revolutionary new work, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” examines the psychological convention of splitting thinking into two systems, which can be manipulated in the workplace to drive up productivity. System 1 is the set of assumptions we carry with us about the world to help us understand patterns. It is also in some learned skills such as reading, driving or in very accomplished musicians, for example, playing piano. System 2 is the more deliberate thought stream which is concerned with computation and problem-solving from first principles. You can imagine which of these is fast, and which is a slower process.

Limitations of the systems

They both have their limitations, however, system 1 is involuntary so it is impossible to turn off. It is also biased and may answer simpler questions than it is actually being presented, leading to both visual and cognitive illusions, such as the Müller-Lyer illusion pictured below.

System 2 has its flaws when asked to pay attention – this will cause temporary blindness to other aspects of the situation: the so-called “missing the bigger picture for the finer details”. This is illustrated perfectly in the “Invisible Gorilla” video (1).

It is also entirely impossible to use these systems simultaneously. Try jogging and doing long multiplication at the same time. You will find you have to stop in your tracks while you figure out the problem.

“Flow-state thinking”

This however doesn’t mean that System 2 thinking always must be slow and deliberate. Tasks become cognitively easier the more it is liked or enjoyed by the individual. This leads to what was described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as “flow-state thinking” which is the state of being in complete harmony with work, an uninterrupted “flow” of creativity.  You can sit for hours without breaks applying yourself to whatever challenge you put in front of you when in “flow”. It is incredibly useful to productivity at work, and as a manager you can harness the power of “flow-state thinking” to engage and encourage your workers’ productivity. The portal to the “flow-state” is positivity and enjoyment; when one enjoys work more, one can focus more easily. You should consider the best employee for certain projects based on their strengths, weaknesses and interests, to ensure the “flow-state” has the right environment to flourish.

How to harness the “flow-state”.

The key to utilising the “flow-state” in employees is to do it transparently and intermittently, directly explaining to employees to try this technique. “Flow-state thinking” should be used sparingly, on important projects only, as it comes at a cost. You can make key mistakes during the “flow-state” as it is an elevation of System 2 thought into an automatic stream, and system 2 has biases. This will lead to increased mistakes at the cost of creativity. Therefore, using a “flow-state” should be followed by a critical appraisal of the work performed. As the manager, you are best placed to perform this role, by editing or giving feedback.

  1.      http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html#tryit