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    Entries in incentives (3)


    The 2nd Annual Tim Sackett Day Honors the Great Paul Hebert

    First off - Happy Tim Sackett Day!

    What the heck is Tim Sackett Day you might be wondering?

    Let me take you back to a similar cold, windy, snowy January day just one year ago when a rag-tag band of Human Resources bloggers joined together to honor one of our own, one of the often unsung HR heroes, toiling in the trenches, working day-in and day-out to improve the workplace, one step at a time. The idea was to recognize and praise the type of HR, Talent, or Recruiting pro that all too often goes, well, unrecognized in an era where 'Look at me' sometimes trumps, 'See what I have accomplished.'

    Last year, the inaugrual Tim Sackett Day honored, well duh, Tim Sackett. 

    For the 2nd Annual Tim Sackett Day, the HR blognoscenti honors one of the stalwarts in the world of motivation, incentives, and influence -  none other than the amazing Paul Hebert.Paul Hebert

    If you know Paul then you won't be surprised at all by the decision to single him out for this type of recognition. He is, for me, the single most knowledgeable, well-informed, experienced, and level-headed thinker, writer, and implementer in the world of influence, behavior, recognition and rewards.  

    He has forgotten more about what really works to drive change in organizations that most of us will even know.

    And he won't hesitate to tell you if the latest buzzwords are BS, that often times you actually don't need, or are not ready for his services, and that influence, rewards, and incentives have to be connected to the needs of the organization to truly be successful.

    But beyond all that, past his insight and expertise, Paul is simply and unequivocally one of the most giving, considerate, and thoughtful people I've come to know in many years. 

    Have a question? Paul is there to try and help.

    Have a new project or endeavor? Paul is there to support.

    Want an intelligent conversation, or just a laugh? Paul is there to advise, educate, and commiserate.

    Quite simply, Paul is one of the very best people I have ever met, and I am proud and honored to call him a friend.

    Lately, Paul has been fighting a brave and courageous battle against cancer - you can learn more about Paul's situation here. I know you join me in praying for a speedy and full recovery for Paul.

    So congratulations to Paul for this great honor, and congratulations as well to all the great, hard-working, unsung, but essential HR and Talent professionals that do their part, every day, to try and make all our workplaces better, more meaningful, and more important.

    Happy Tim Sackett Day! 

    Note: You can participate in the festivities today on Twitter - use the hashtag #TimSackettDay 


    Timesheets, Incentives, and Five O'Clock Beers

    Timesheets. Despite incredible advances in biometrics, smart time clocks, and increasing availability of mobile and tablet solutions to make easier employee time tracking and time reporting, many organizations still have to deal with a weekly or bi-weekly struggle of collecting, verifying, or processing employee time sheets. Filling out timesheets stink, and chances are you might have been on both sides of the timesheet pendulum in your career, as someone who was horrible at turning in a timesheet by the deadline, or as someone that had to deal with chasing down slackers that can never seem to get it together by the deadline.

    One organization has come up with what might be the most clever solution yet for incenting staff to get their timesheets filled out and turned in on time - the digital 'Drink Time Sheet'.  The idea? Set up in the office a refrigerator full of free beer, but have it electronically locked, and linked to the office's timesheet system. Once all the week's timesheets are submitted, a siren sounds, the refrigerator unlocks, and the staff can celebrate the end of the week with a few Friday beers.

    Check the video below, (email and RSS subscribers need to click through), to see the Drink Time Sheet in action.


    What do you think? Could this kind of idea work in your organization? Maybe if not for time sheets but for some other kind of administrative, boring, and entirely necessary process that always seems like a struggle to complete?

    Have a great weekend!


    Packaging and Disincentives

    One of my favorite 'non-HR' reads is a blog called Box Vox, which is dedicated to the art and craft of product packaging design. It is a really interesting site to learn more about innovations in packaging science and to understand a bit more about how the package design attempts to influence buying behavior. Almost invariably, the package designers attempt to balance design, function, the physical requirements imposed on the package composition by the product itself, as well as the branding and promotional elements that often contribute significantly to the ultimate purchase decision.

    Packaging design is big business, and in particular package re-designs of existing products can be very risky, take a look at this story from 2009 about a colossally botched re-design by Tropicana orange juice. A few seemingly simple changes to the graphics and type on the Tropicana carton sent long-time customers into a rage, eventually causing the company to revert to its time-tested and likely way more important to customers than they ever realized package design.

    But since consumer product packaging, and even the more ethereal messaging, digital content, or even simple verbal conversations that pass for a kind of 'packaging' that we place around our projects in the workplace are mostly centered around positive actions - we want to incent people to do something, we sometimes don't have a great handle on how to communicate or package something for circumstances where we want to stop or at least reduce a behavior or the use of a certain product or practice.

    We are all familiar with the printed warnings that have been places on cigarette packaging here in the USA for many years, but the sense we get from those is that while true and sobering, they really don't make the habit and practice of smoking significantly more difficult than if there were no warnings on the packages.  I bet long time smokers don't even notice these warnings any more. But what if the packaging itself could dis-incent smokers from the actual action of smoking?  Again from the Box Vox site, take a look at this re-imagined cigarette package:

    Image from Boxvox.net

    Sure the tired old warning message still appears, but when you examine the packaging a little more closely, you'll notice the non-traditional shape, a very intentional design that has some interesting implications. According to the package designers Jennifer Noon and Sarah Shaw:

    'Our primary aim was to change the structure of the pack making it less ergonomic. The pack was developed to be difficult to use and carry, it is hard to fit into pockets due to its triangular shape and the angled inner means the cigarettes are hard to get out. The lid is designed so that it closes efficiently but after a few uses it becomes weak,meaning the cigarettes can fall out if being stored in a ladies handbag.

    Boom. By going beyond simply advising cigarette customers about the potentially disastrous health outcomes from their habit, this new package makes the practice of the habit itself much more unpleasant and difficult than before, and at least theoretically places an additional burden on the smoker that perhaps some of them will not want to deal with.

    Telling smokers, or really anyone that is doing something in a way that the manager, the organization, or even society would like to see stopped is often not as effective as we'd like it to be. Employees, partners, kids, whomever - keep doing silly things. Even when they have been told not to. But making the practice and exercise of these undesirable behaviors much more difficult and unpleasant via packaging or design or through use of physical space can often offer us more opportunities to promote change and to achieve the desired outcomes.

    What do you think? What else can we do when simply telling people to behave differently is not enough?