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Gaming Feedback and Recognition

Photo Credit:  Joe Haupt, FlickrI’ve just spent a terrific day at the WorkHuman Conference in Orlando.  WorkHuman focuses on identifying the building blocks needed to create “humanity-focused workplace cultures”.

I like this concept.  I write a lot about the grind of HR and feel refreshed after being around people who want to make sure we have programs and practices that matter rather than firefighting.  After listening to several sessions already, there are so many ideas in my head so I thought it would be good time to stop, digest, reflect. . .and blog.

What I appreciate about the forum here is that the hosts of WorkHuman, Globoforce, seem to welcome a participant perspective on human motivation and psychology. And it is clear that the no one here is viewing the future as a set of cookie-cutter approaches to effective workplaces.

One thing I’ve noticed is that crowdsourced performance reviews and recognition systems are hot topics.  They solve a whole host of problems with traditional reviews including manager centricity, inaccuracy and inefficiency.  The capabilities they offer are so much better than traditional one-way manager reviews or traditional paper thank you’s.

I was left wondering though if we have contemplated all the challenges of a human-centric approach.  Even happy people have less than noble tendencies.

As an illustration. . .

I’m totally a believer in the power of social networking.  I’m heavily invested.  It has proven to be a positively life changing experience.  I’m surprised though by how many people know of me as a result of my social networking activities.  Truth be told, I’m just an HR person and very much of ordinary folk.  But I get a lot of recognition.  I wonder how that phenomenon of ordinary recognition will impact those who participate in platforms like Globoforce and end up doing well specifically because they are good connectors.  And is this is terrible?

We live in a world of gamers.  In the context of recognition, it seems a natural human tendency to “game the system” because we achieve the award by increasing our social currency (perhaps by actively increasing their LinkedIn contacts).  Does the efficacy of crowdsourced reviews wane as the gamers get better at gaming? Or the opposite?  I’m not sure.

This idea of gaming the system is interesting to me.  Back in the 1970s there were adorable hand-held football games which essentially had a 3-play formula built in.  Once you knew how to run the right patterns, you won every time. This is a lot more difficult today in a multi-dimensional context, but we humans are naturally inclined to figure out the shortcuts.

The benefit of the analytics will be that with the quantity of data being generated we can really see the link between social currency and recognition.  It also seems clear that we are in for many evolutions of recognition ahead, learning much from each iteration. This is exciting.

Having a platform for recognition is not a fad.  And WorkHuman will be there to help us along the journey.

Do your target candidates know who you are?

Not every hiring manager or HR leader can work for a high profile company but some high potential candidates are looking for that element of name recognition when job seeking. How can you make sure your potential employees know your company – and want to work for you?

Social media can be a great leveler, and used effectively it is a recruitment tool that companies of any size and profile can use. However, few employers are using it to its fullest potential.

Nearly 100 per cent of Canadian professionals are on at least one social media network and more than half use them as tools to hunt for employment. As the hiring market gets tougher, employers need to stand out from the crowd, but less than a quarter are using social media to find talent.

Who are you connected with?

According to the Hays Canada Where People Are report, employers tend to favour generic online job boards, post-secondary career sites and traditional online ads, while candidates gravitate to social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And when businesses do use social media to recruit, they’re often talking to the wrong people.

That’s because they’re missing a crucial step in building those networks. Most are talking to their clients and consumers, not potential candidates, and of the candidates that are in their network few are high quality with sought-after skills and experience. According to our research, only about 10 per cent of the average company network is made up of good quality candidates.

This is partly due to the fact that most companies are selling their products and services on social media, rather than positioning themselves as a top employer. That means that when you then try to post jobs on the channel that message is lost in the noise because most of your network are consumers not candidates.

How can you raise your profile?

Create a content plan that engages with your top candidates with information that is interesting and relevant to them. This can include sharing external content such as news stories, or internally-produced content like blogs or reports. Sharing non-job-related content now, and building interest and engagement with potential employees means that when you do have a job to post, they already know who you are, and know that it will be relevant to you.

Sell your company culture and build awareness of your employer value proposition as well with posts about internal incentives or programs, team events or celebrations, and other activities that contribute to making your company a great place to work.

The goal of this is to build and nurture a group of engaged professionals who will come to know and trust your brand so when you share job postings they are more likely to apply and accept an offer. Putting the groundwork in early is key to getting the results you’re looking for.

Hays Canada division manager Rachel Finan has more than 14 years of experience working in HR recruitment, She excels in making the right match and brings expert insight into market trends, employer needs, and candidate requirements.


20 Simple Ways to Grow Your Career & Get New Shoes

As HR professionals we often end up as the shoemaker’s children. We focus our attention on meeting the needs of the employees in our organization. That’s our job and we’re good at it.

When it comes to career management, we encourage employees to take ownership. We remind them that how far they go in their career really depends on them. Makes sense, right?

After years of helping others become successful, many of us lose sight of our own development and ensuring that we, too, continue reaching new levels of excellence. Refocusing on ourselves is critical to HR leading our organizations by example. It sets us up to be the true advisors to the business; not just with theoretical models but from practical experience of what works.

Here are 20 ways that you can take ownership of your own career development and be a leading example for other to follow:


  1. Write a post on LinkedIn’s blogging platform. This positions you as an expert and builds your personal brand.
  2. Intentionally network with peers in your industry. Relationships matter. Author Allison Graham says “Networking, when done properly and professionally, will help you achieve whatever you can imagine.”
  3. Follow the social media profiles of top leaders in your industry. Learn what they’re talking about and what trends they’re paying attention to.
  4. Share an article that that caught your attention. Help others learn something new too.
  5. Start a blog. Offer actionable advice to your readers that will help them progress and grow on their career journey.
  6. Publish an ebook on a subject you’re passionate about. Tap into what gets you fired up, research it, and spread the word.
  7. Set aside 20 minutes every day to read a blog with industry news. It can be a leading blog or one that is up & coming. As long as it has relevant ideas and commentary, build it into your daily routine.
  8. Reconnect with the area of HR that drew you into the profession in the first place. Was it compensation, recruitment, or leadership development? Seek out the latest information & keep your expertise fresh.
  9. Sit in on training your client group is going through. This puts you directly into their shoes and gives you a natural talking point for future meetings.
  10. Invite a business leader into your next team meeting to provide a business update. This helps you learn what keeps them up at night and builds your relationship with a key stakeholder.
  11. Invite another member of HR to share their priorities & challenges with your team. It shares knowledge & builds lasting alliances.
  12. Attend one networking event per month. Have a meaningful conversation with someone new. Bring business cards!
  13. Schedule time in your calendar to follow up with people you met at networking events. Take action & share ideas within 48-hours of the event.
  14. Volunteer at an upcoming industry conference. As a volunteer, you can often attend sessions for free!
  15. Host a mastermind or think tank on an industry hot topic. Bring a group of smart people together and share ideas on the impact this will have on your organization.
  16. Host a 45-minute lunch & learn for your team. Teach your newest Excel hack and develop your facilitation skills at the same time.
  17. Volunteer to run the next team meeting on your manager’s behalf. This takes something off your manager’s to-do list (score!) & helps you learn how to run an effective meeting.
  18. Host a book club in your office. Choose a business book that everyone can benefit from and trade ideas on each person’s key takeaways.
  19. Host a training session in your area of expertise. Recruiters can teach how to get the most out of LinkedIn or ways to share jobs through social media.
  20. Mentor an up & coming HR professional. Be a leader, give back, and make a difference in a young person’s career.


The key to managing your career is taking small steps every day towards your own development. It’s an important part of leading by example in our organizations and maintaining credibility. Let’s put ourselves first, HR friends. It’s time to get some new shoes.

How do you build your career? Comment below and let’s keep this list of ideas growing.

If something here resonated with you, please share this post! You never know how you’ll inspire someone else to take action.

Cindy Harvey is the Founder of Amelia Dee Consulting where she helps purpose-driven professionals to build careers that fit them like a glove and create lifestyles with the freedom, flexibility, and fun that they crave. To learn more, get in touch at or visit