Job Crafting As a Way to Create a Meaningful Work Experience


Last week, I wrote about Employee-centered job design as a way to create meaningful work experiences and retain employees. This week, I want to turn the focus to helping employees create meaningful experiences at work.

Most of us spend at least 8 hours at work. That’s 50% of our waking hours if you are among the lucky ones who get at least 8 hours of sleep! As an employee, what can you do to make your experience at work more enjoyable?

Suggestions for Creating a More Meaningful Work Experience

Craft your job. Are there opportunities within your role or team to craft your jobs to make it meaningful for you? You may try to reframe your day-to-day activities in such a way that align these activities with your interests and strengths.

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Employee-Centered Job Design as a Way to Create Meaningful Work Experiences and Retain Employees

The US economy continues to do well and the unemployment rate continues to decline. Healthcare and information technology will feel the most acute talent shortage. What can you do to motivate and retain your key talent?

A recent Korn Ferry survey of 4,900 professionals found that the number one reason professionals want to switch jobs is because they are bored at work (33%). In contrast, only 19% of respondents reported higher salaries as a reason for changing job.

This result is not surprising. Our research with our clients consistently finds that doing challenging and interesting work and having opportunities for development are two key drivers of employee engagement. Pay is a hygiene factor that is needed to keep employees from feeling dissatisfied but not a motivating factor. Continue reading “Employee-Centered Job Design as a Way to Create Meaningful Work Experiences and Retain Employees”

How to Create an Employee Engagement Strategy

Improving employee engagement may be one of your goals this year. Where do you start? Read on to find out what’s involved and learn how you can take the first steps to achieve this goal.

Be clear on why you want to improve employee engagement

Most engagement efforts begin with an employee survey. Before you begin be sure you know which particular organizational challenges you want to address.

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Engaging Employees Using a Hackathon


Agile. Networks of teams. Engaging employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle. These are three of the top 10 most important human capital trends of 2017 according to Deloitte.  Consistent with these trends, the use of employee hackathons to solve organizational problems is on the rise. This is not surprising as more companies want to create engaging employee experiences.

What is an Employee Hackathon?

An employee hackathon is a fun and fast-paced event that brings diverse groups of employees together to solve organizational problems. Employees typically work in teams. They use agile methodology to create prototypes. Once the “hacks” are complete, teams pitch their solutions to senior leaders. And the winning solutions will be funded and implemented.

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“Please rate me a 10 or I’ll get into trouble.” Sound familiar?

Computer Screen, concept of online survey

I just moved. As in any move, I had to set up my Internet, utilities, and buy a few appliances. If you’ve bought anything recently, either online or in-person, you’re likely to be asked to complete a short customer survey.

I have no problem completing customer surveys. In fact, I always complete customer surveys because I’m in the survey business. I know how difficult it is to get enough people to participate in a study. So I happily oblige.

However, how valid are the survey results? Here are my experiences.

All three of the service delivery persons told me that I’d receive an online survey about their services. They asked me to rate them a “10” on the survey.

“Please, you need to give me a 10. Anything less than 10 I’ll get into trouble.” A delivery person said.

Thankfully, all three of the service delivery persons were indeed great. They were courteous, on time, and properly installed the services I ordered. I happily gave them a “10” rating.

What if their services were less than optimal? I probably would not have rated them “10.” But would I feel slightly guilty because they’ve asked me to rate them 10 or else they’d get into trouble? Maybe.

How reliable are the survey results if the person being evaluated prompts the respondents to rate them all “10” instead of being neutral? How could these inflated ratings help company leaders take action to address any issues they may have?

In one case, I was truly surprised by how a net promoter score question is asked at the end of the survey. Again, the survey asked me a few questions about the service delivery. They were all fine questions and I rated them favorably. Next came the net promoter score question:

“Based on your experience with our service delivery, how likely are you to recommend our service to your friends and family? Please rate from 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all likely and 10 is absolutely likely.”

Here’s the story. I would have rate them a 4 if they were to ask me, based on my overall experience, how likely I were to recommend their services. Although their product quality is good, their customer service is not. Their website navigation was confusing. I was caught in an infinite loop just trying to get to a page where I could order my service online. I had to call them to confirm my order, only to find out that my selected date of delivery was no longer available although it was available when I ordered my service online. Yes, the service delivery person deserves a 10, the overall experience of my interaction with the service provider does not.

I sure hope that they do not extrapolate the NPS score for the service delivery person to the entire service experience. The false sense of excellence may just prevent this company from doing what is really needed—improve the overall customer service experience.

What questions are you asking in your customer surveys or employee surveys? Are they valid? Are you asking unbiased questions that enable you to take action?

These Two Words Will Boost Your Employee Engagement

Our employee survey results consistently show that one of the things employees crave most is acknowledgement and appreciation. The simplest way to acknowledge employees’ contributions is to say thank you, yet this is often overlooked. The following sample employee comments are common feedback we see in our surveys:

“A simple thank you goes a long way.”

“Whenever my manager gives me feedback, it’s about things that I could have done better. It’s like he only sees what went wrong. When I do well and meet targets, I don’t hear good job or any word of praise from him.”

“When I say hello to my director, she doesn’t seem to notice me and walks right by.”

Do any of the above comments resonate with you? If so, it is time to be more deliberate in incorporating the practice of saying thank you and recognizing employees’ contributions on a regular basis. This behavior is important and it is one of the 12 indices in Gallup’s Q12, “In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?”

In a rush to meet deadlines and production targets, managers and supervisors often focus on the end results and forget to recognize employees’ contributions. This is not an excuse to fail to acknowledge the accomplishments of your employees. While there is always room for improvement, it is critical that you celebrate success along the way and boost employee morale.

This Valentine’s Day, take the opportunity to show your employees some love. Start by saying thank you to your team members. Chocolates are welcome, too!

photo credit: Kev-shine, Flickr.

Meditation At Work

I woke up. Almost immediately, I was thinking about the one thousand and one things on my to-do list, and began to feel overwhelmed. Do you have a similar experience?

You know that’s not a good way to start your day. Can you get out of the “doing” mode and try the “being” mode for a while?

Take a deep breath. Refocus. Meditate.

Finding quietness in our busy life is gaining importance. Companies such as Google, Intel, and Stubhub provide meditation sessions and quiet retreats for employees who want to recharge and experience quietness. There is increasing evidence that being quiet and in solitude can increase productivity and creativity compared with working in a team, as long as being alone does not morph into being isolated.

I find Pico Iyer’s TED talk on this topic inspiring and beautiful. Anderson Cooper’s recent interview with CBS provides a broad survey of the science behind the timeless practice of meditation.

How can you find a sliver of space and time during your workday to be quiet and just breathe? If you were a manager or a leader, how could you support your employees to be still during the workday as a way to help them recharge, refocus, and refresh?

The Future of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement and retention will continue to be key talent management concerns for leaders in 2015. The increased use of mobile devices, data analytics, and employment expectations of millennials mean that companies will need to look for creative ways to engage their employees. Josh Bersin at Deloitte sums it up well in The Talent Agenda for 2015:

“Our candidates today are not looking for a career, they are looking for an experience.”

In that spirit, TechnologyAdvice recently published a list of the most important voices of employee engagement on their blog. I’m honored to be included on their top 10 list along with New York Times best seller Kevin Kruse, Bunchball CEO Rajat Paharia, and Nisha Raghavan of DriveThruHR. Click here to read the article and tips from these employee engagement leaders.

What’s next in employee engagement? In addition to organizational design, job design, and rewards and recognition practices, many companies are turning to workspace design to facilitate employee interactions, collaboration, and engagement. Our own Workplace By Design Survey results, expected to be out by the end of January, will provide critical information for you to start a conversation with your leaders about designing an optimal workplace that facilitates employee engagement.

Until then, have a very happy holiday season and a safe and healthy new year!

What is the right employee survey for your workplace? The long, short, and supershort of it.

Very short pulse surveys are gaining popularity, according to a recent WSJ article. These are one- or two-question surveys that employees receive daily, weekly or monthly. Should you replace your annual employee survey with very short pulse surveys?

Comprehensive Employee Survey vs. Very Short Pulse Survey

Unlike annual employee surveys that include established categories—work environment, leadership, learning and development, employee recognition, communication, compensation and benefits; questions on very short pulse surveys tend to be more fluid and episodic in nature. These questions can range from “What are you proud of accomplishing last week?” “What are the challenges you are facing?” “Who has demonstrated great leadership this week?” to asking employees to select if they like “Prince or Michael Jackson” and share holiday planning ideas. Read more…

Could a Hackathon Help Improve Employee Engagement?

“Hackathons Aren’t Just for Coders,” reads a recent Wired magazine headline. The article reports on a series of medical technology (“medtech”) hackathons that took place over the last year and a half, and the big successes achieved by this type of collective brainstorming of ideas.

The software industry has long been at the forefront of the hack fest trend—a “focused innovation effort” aimed to solve complex problems in a condensed amount of time—but now other industries are starting to utilize and benefit from hackathons, too. This includes the field of employee engagement.

In February, Novacrea’s President Pi Wen Looi took part as head judge in the employee engagement industry’s first-ever hackathon, Hack the Experience. The event was co-hosted by the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association for Talent Development, the South Bay Organizational Development Network, and several other organizations that brought together a diverse group of HR, training, communications professionals, and more in San Francisco for a day-long hackathon and judging. The resulting ideas were incredibly innovative, and Pi Wen discovered some fascinating insights into how an organization tackling the employee engagement puzzle could really benefit from the hackathon model.

So, what’s so great about a hackathon? As Pi Wen was quoted in a recent Associations Now article about Hack the Experience:

“Employee engagement is a complex problem. There’s more than one thing that feeds into whether or not a person is engaged. A hackathon like this gets a lot of people thinking about the problem in different ways. You’re kind of attacking it from different angles.”

Read more about the benefits of hackathons for employee engagement (and beyond) in the Associations Now article, “Hackathons: Hack What You Lack.”

Click here to learn how Novacrea can help improve employee engagement at your company.