Wednesday, February 29, 2012


...some quick points 1) SPARC Launches Free Employee Recognition App Sparcet™. 2) I got some good press this week and I think it gives some interesting insights that relate back to this blog. Smith preaches creative culture. 3) I feel like my tweets are getting pretty good, so follow me on twitter @BreaknEquations. :D

The Sparcet application we released this month is all about employee recognition. I have touched on this topic before, but with the release of Sparcet, I thought I would really dive in.

We all received our very first piece of recognition way before we could even talk. As babies we get recognition from the moment we are born for the smallest of acts. A newborn gets a "good girl" for a burp, a cough or even something much worse... but recognition gets built into us from our very first day. As we go through school and get involved in extra activities, this continues on and becomes more focused. "Great grades son" and "I am proud of how you played" are comments that stay with most people for a lifetime. As we move into our professional careers and up in our career path there is a distancing downward trend between your adult age and any recognition you might get.

OK, I can hear it now... there will be some CEOs and Senior Managers reading this blog saying, "I've replaced recognition with money... which people appreciate more" or "my employees are adults, they do not require recognition". So to all those people who had those thoughts, as Penn & Teller would say, BULLSHIT!

There are tons and tons of articles out there (here, here and here) that show how recognition can mean the most, and even more than, money. And yes there are some that tell us otherwise, as well. Most reasonable people can agree that after a base of fair pay, recognition becomes a highly valued tool. So why are we lacking on it so greatly in corporate America?

Well one of the reasons is there is no easy, intuitive and lasting way to do it. Recognition isn't taught in most companies and after a few failed emails, most leaders view it as too much risk (i.e. it could come across wrong) and just decide to avoid it all together. The natural manner to give recognition is by watching someone do something well and then seeing them at the water cooler and saying "Great Job!". The problem (opportunity) is that in today's corporate America, bosses don't get to see their employees very often... between not working in the same location, being way too busy and there being no damn water coolers anymore! It's no wonder employee recognition has all but withered away. According to Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day!, peak performers want to be recognized at least every seven days, with 50% coming for their managers, 30% coming from their peers and 20% coming from their organization. With nothing but an over filled email inbox, no wonder recognition hasn't followed us into the 20th century business world.

Welcome Sparcet... a game changer in the overwhelming need for an electronic way to manage and encourage employee recognition within your organization. Sparcet came from the idea of Spark + Ticket. When we initially created our employee recognition process it was a raffle "ticket", where half of the ticket had a number and you wrote about how the person positively affected you (like gave a great presentation) on the other half. When people received these they felt "sparked" up for being recognized. Once a month we do a drawing and have a little celebration where we would read a few of these and select one for a $200 bonus and the best parking spot in the parking lot.

Now Sparcet is a free electronic system that takes this concept to whole new level. It's the first piece in a Employee Engagement Platform (EEP) we are calling SPARC'D. You can quickly find someone, enter in how they inspired you, add a personal message, copy their boss if you want and send it out. Sparcets then get displayed in a Feed or Stream where everyone can see all the great things people are doing in your organization. You can watch the Sparcet Video on YouTube or at the Sparcet site by clicking on the iPad.

So, why Recognition and why Sparcet? Because great things are already happening in your organization... you're just not capturing the energy (good will) of all those great things, because in most cases there is no way for you to know about them. There is no way for your organization to capitalize on all the great things that are already happening every day. With Sparcet there is great communication to show all those things off and now your boss has at least a chance of understanding the effect you are having on the organization.

Because we are so passionate about changing the culture of corporate America we are giving Sparcet away completely free... for life (no bait and switch here). Simply click the "Get Sparcet" button or click here to go straight to the sign up process. Fill out 4 easy questions, add some people and start changing your company forever. :D You don't need to get IT involved, you don't need to have complete buy-in, all you need is a passion to make a difference. Give it a try and let the Sparcet team know what you think!!!

So I ask... will you follow the lead of the traditional manager or call a Penn & Teller and sign up for Sparcet? :D