Employee alignment is most often designed to change employee behaviours in some way, with a focus on identifying poor practices and promoting positive changes. But what happens if you look for positive behaviours and build on those instead?
The majority of employees are good, hardworking, dedicated people who are already doing a good job, but sadly their contributions are ignored or unrecognised when it comes to most recognition programmes where the focus is on a tiny minority of top achievers.
Research at large, [and our own case studies] have shown that when you tap into the positive behaviours of your mainstream, you can make a massive and measurable impact on your bottom line.
Here’s how and why:
Conventional wisdom says it’s good for the majority to witness the annual adulation of their top-performing peers because it inspires them to raise their game and strive to earn those rewards. This is great in as far as it goes, but it is not the only way, and not even the most cost-effective way to inspire greatness among your majority of employees.
We have created a number of campaigns using a change management methodology called Appreciative Inquiry. There is plenty of sound strategy and smart thinking behind this technique, [I have included a link for more information] but for now I want to share the bottom line impact of this middle-route innovation.
First we work with our client to identify small, everyday examples of strategically aligned activities – positive behaviours displayed by ‘ordinary’ employees engaged in best practises at any and every level of the organisation.
Once we know what positive behaviours we are looking for, we then use peer-to-peer nominations, manager recommendations or ‘secret shopper’ agents to identify those individuals that are demonstrating those behaviours.
Next we produce a series of creatively themed acknowledgements – and that’s when things get really interesting.
We call them ‘guerrilla acknowledgments’ because they are unannounced, unexpected and unscheduled. These recognition rewards range from specially themed and designed personalised emails from executive directors and senior managers, through to small themed gifts with personal messages, right up to once-in-a lifetime song and dance routines dedicated to those everyday heroes and performed in their everyday workplace setting. Think of a flash mob in a call centre or a personalised pop-up cabaret in an open-plan office and you’ll get the idea.
This is all great fun, and it has an instant and measurable impact on the morale of the individuals acknowledged as might be expected. What you may not expect is the exponential spin-off.
In one case study we saw one acknowledged employee improve their metrics by a staggering 374%. But even more gratifying was that those employees that merely witnessed the acknowledgement improved their own performances by between 25% and 36%
You can find out more about Appreciative Inquiry along with some great free resources at
For a walkthrough of how we can make Appreciative Inquiry and Guerrilla Acknowledgement work for you, call Kevin on
011 021 1400 or email him at