Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who's Right Marissa Mayer or Richard Branson?

Recently people are revisiting the question of whether or not employees need to be in the same office to be engaged, productive, and thoughtful contributors to an organization's goals. 

We figured it's a good time to give the KangoGift perspective. 

For us, people are asking the wrong question. Virgin has a very strong corporate culture with many remote workers. Zappos on the other hand is one of the preeminent benchmarks of a strong culture where employees work under the same roof. Most companies fall someplace in the middle. Who's right? 

The real question is how can your organization foster a culture that embraces communication, feedback, and celebrating the small wins? 

To use a sports metaphor, by focusing on the small things, all of those singles and doubles keep people aligned to achieve the big goals. Just communicating a big goal with no reinforcement and guidance on the journey can lead to disappointment. 

We define the small things by looking at what employees want. Recent data from Towers Watson found only 12% of people say they receive frequent recognition and 7% believe their company is excellent at appreciating great work. When pushed, employees cite that they would like appreciation or feedback every seven days. All of this suggests a focus on the small wins can drive your teams. 

To be fair, it's hard to beat a colleague walking over to my desk patting me on the back and telling the people around me how appreciated I am. However, these days the walk to the next cube may not be possible. Instead various social and mobile tools can create the pat on the back experience and amplify great work throughout the organization. 

Of course, we think about recognition a lot and are big believers in using mobile and social recognition as a productive way to give feedback and praise. Offering people an easy and structured way to give timely praise leads to more conversations, more visibility for great work, and ultimately employees who value their work. 

Overall, Tony Hsieh, Marissa Mayer, and Richard Branson can teach us a thing or two about creating great corporate cultures. We all just need to figure out to take the best of each to create a culture that works for your organization.

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