NextGen Recognition: Using neuroscience and technology to engage your people and build your culture

Johnson, Brett and Pearce, Michelle (2019) NextGen Recognition: Using neuroscience and technology to engage your people and build your culture. In: Tertiary Education Management Conference 2019: Distilling Ideas, Transforming Futures (TEMC 2019), 29 Sept - 2 Oct, 2019, Adelaide, Australia.


Abstract

Leaders are crucial to engaging employees in order to boost performance and meet the rising challenges within the Australian Tertiary Sector. With the pace of change today accelerating due to a number of external demands, uncertainty is rife and employees are feeling it. On a global scale, 87% of employees are not engaged (Gallup, 2019). The Australian Tertiary Sector fairs slightly better, with the typical employee engagement level for Australian and New Zealand Universities being moderate, at around 75% (Voice Project, 2018).

One of the key drivers to employee engagement is recognition according to a recent study that surveyed over 1,000 companies (Aon Hewitt, 2018). This is not surprising given what the field of neuroscience is revealing about how the brain works with respect to perceived threats and rewards in the workplace. Employees that receive recognition for their effort feel valued, and are more likely to be functioning in a reward brain state (growth mindset). A growth mindset is characterised by feeling useful, and thinking in a creative and expansive manner; while employees constantly in a threat state (fixed mindset) exhibit a tendency for stress, disengagement, and narrowed thinking (Genos International, 2018).

Herein lies the challenges for universities. How do we enable leaders to provide employee recognition that supports a growth mindset? It is clear that the traditional length of service reward programs alone are no longer fit for purpose. After all, by 2020, 50% of the global workforce will be Millennials, people who generally want, and are accustomed to, receiving instantaneous, high frequency, and individualised feedback (PwC, 2011). This is part of the recognition challenge that the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has been working on recently.

The solution: empowering people throughout the University to provide meaningful recognition to each other via an online real-time recognition platform called STARS (Say Thanks and Recognise Success). Using STARS, USQ employees are able to provide multidirectional instantaneous recognition across a range of strategically aligned categories. This approach to recognition not only provides personalised feedback that boosts employee engagement but also provides a useful range of workforce analytics. STARS is currently in its first year of implementation and already 1379 recognitions have been sent via the system, with over 51% of all USQ employees receiving recognition.

This presentation will explore both the inter-connections between neuroscience, leadership behaviour, employee recognition, engagement, and a high-performance culture, as well as the way USQ is using technology to go beyond the traditional reward programs to empower employees using “nextgen” recognition.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2020 00:24
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 00:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: reward and recognition, organisational culture, employee engagement, leadership
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150311 Organisational Behaviour
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150307 Innovation and Technology Management
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150305 Human Resources Management
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/37373

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