Why Are Micro-Rewards Effective in the Workplace?

Why Are Micro-Rewards Effective in the Workplace?

Increase Productivity with Rewards and Recognition

Why Isn’t Everyone Micro-Rewarding?

Gamification for Employee Engagement

Boost the Bottom Line with Micro-Rewards

Have you ever worked at a job where you feel like you are not being appreciated or recognized for your hard work?

Let me answer for you… of course you have, and you’re not alone! Many people feel as though they are overworked and underappreciated. If this isn’t the case for you, then you are part of the lucky few.

One of the biggest problems within a workforce is lack of recognition for your hard work. Furthermore, a workplace that does acknowledge and rewards its employees is more likely to retain valuable staff. In fact, 79% of employees polled in 2019 said that an increase in recognition and rewards would make them more loyal to an employer.

If you put in extra hours or go that extra mile, but nobody seems to acknowledge all your hard work, this starts to have an impact on your work – whether you conciously realize it or not. Slowly, you start to resent your job, boss or co-workers. Before you realize it, you stopped trying as hard and just do what you need to do to get by. Eventually it may escalate into you moving on to a different job.

However, what if you were recognized more often or rewarded for beating the deadline? 

rewards effective in the workplace

Increase Productivity with Recognition and Rewards in the Workplace

Businesses with recognition programs outperform those without them by an average of 14%. While those who report being unhappy or planning to leave their current job often report that employee recognition is one of the main reasons, making lack of recognition a costly problem for employers.

In order to help lower the chances of this happening, things will need to change. Thats is where micro-rewards come in. Micro-rewards are small and frequent rewards for completing tasks or reaching goals. By continually getting rewards for performing well in your job it naturally increases motivation. This concept is true not only in the workforce but in many other applications as well.

Business leaders want to know what the secret is to keeping employees happy and engaged. There have been many studies around micro-rewards in the workplace. One study by Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In the study, they found that people who received immediate rewards for completing smaller tasks were overall happier.

In addition to this, people who received rewards more frequently lead to added enjoyment in their work and increased interest. This was taken a step further with those same people. They found that the workers continued to remain interested even when there were no more rewards coming in. This showed that the positivity from the rewards and recognition had a lingering effect that lasted even when the rewards stopped.

Woolley stated “If you have a hobby – say you like to knit or quilt – the process itself is enjoyable, it’s intrinsically motivated. You’re doing it just for the sake of doing it, rather than for the outcome.” When employers add micro rewards, this results in a similar outcome. Based on the research Woolley and Fishbach found these immediate rewards will increase the overall experience of the task at hand.

Employees no longer just view it as a job or task that needs to be completed. As you can assume this not only will benefit the employee but also the business. The employee is now happy and engaged in their work. While the business will have a motivated and loyal employee working hard to accomplish tasks. It is ultimately a win-win for all parties involved.

Why Isn’t Everyone Micro-Rewarding?

If the solution is so simple why isn’t every business doing this?

The answer is many of them do not think it is a good idea. People think that by giving employees a bonus too soon or too often can result in some negative consequences. By giving someone something too early, you remove the thing that may be motivating them to work harder. They will then stop working or not work as hard because they do not see the reason to.

While this may be true for some this is not the case for all. “More evidence suggests immediate rewards are beneficial,” said Woolley. “They’re a useful tool for increasing interest in an activity.” Depending on the team lead, manager, owners, etc. they may not know just how impactful a small change like this can have. When businesses grow in size it is often difficult to stay in close communication with every employee. This leads to people not being heard and feeling overlooked. Constantly reminding employees that they are appreciated or noticed will help minimize that.

Another reason businesses are not using micro-rewards is due to the inconvenience it may cause. No one wants to spend time and money on something they don’t see as essential to business success. They haven’t needed to do this before, so why start now? As previously mentioned, when a business grows it becomes too cumbersome to remain in close communication with every employee. Many don’t have the ability to put someone in charge of managing all of that. It is a lot of work to balance how much an employee is getting, how often, how much the business overall is giving to all the employees and so much more.

It is not as simple as just giving something away every so often. Employees have different day to day tasks, goals and etc. Whoever oversees handing out the micro rewards would not only need to set the goals for each employee but also track that they hit them on time. This would result in a lot of hours of work to make sure this was done properly. With multiple micro-rewards, it can get confusing very quickly. This can have business owners feeling like it is more work than it is worth.

However, what if there was a software to help manage all of this? A tool created to solve just this problem for businesses.

Gamification Software for Employee Engagement

This is where an employee workplace gamification & business intelligence platform can help. A software dedicated to fixing the problem that every business faces. No longer do employees need to feel like they are not valued. ZIZO was created for the purpose of helping not only businesses but the people who help keep the business going. ZIZO’s gamification components incentivize staff by rewarding them for achieving daily, weekly, and monthly goals and foster a culture of transparency and accountability.

Instead of just letting employees know via email what the goals are, why not turn it into something fun that they can look forward to? ZIZO gives managers the ability to create contests and tournaments based on specific KPI’s. 1v1, collaborative goals, team competitions and battle royale tournaments make achieving goals fun and engaging. Employees are challenged to hit targets, and in return, they earn Z Coins and Z Bucks that have real monetary value and can be cashed in for rewards like office perks or merchandise. With all of this in one dashboard it makes managing very easy!

High attrition rates are often due to employees feeling as if they don’t have a future in their current roles. When there is no defined career path, employees aren’t entirely sure what achievement means and how it will impact them. With ZIZO’s rank and level system, employees can see exactly where they are headed, how to get there, and what awaits them at the top.

Because it is bidirectional, they also know they need to continue performing if they want to continue climbing the ladder. Everyone can see the performance of their coworkers and how they match up. If an employee goes the extra mile, they will be rewarded for it right away. Management will see that they exceeded expectations and will have an opportunity to thank them within minutes.

Boost The Bottom Line With Micro-Rewards

In an interview CEO of ZIZO Jimmy Chabat said,

“Be agile. This has been the most crucial lesson I’ve learned across all of my business ventures. …, a great company is one that grows, leads, innovates and adapts. Agility is the trait which allows a company to do all of those things.”

As you’re probably well aware, the workforce is continually changing and so should you. Some of you might be asking why should a business care about micro-rewards so much? Shouldn’t the employee just be thankful they have a job? To be honest, if employees do not feel like they are being recognized or rewarded properly they will just leave. An employee leaving results in a business losing money.

Gone are the days where employees will remain with a company for 20+ years.

If an employee does not feel appreciated, they will search elsewhere for someone who will appreciate them. With remote working becoming more popular it will open more doors for employees to find new jobs. So, keeping them happy will ensure that they do not go looking elsewhere. If an employee leaves their job, the cost to fill the position and train a new employee could be thousands of dollars, if not more. If it happens frequent enough this can cause a serious problem and lead to a lot of money being wasted.

“Today’s $46 billion market for recognition, with its focus on tenure-based programs, clearly is failing, and is out of sync with modern employment practices,” said Josh Bersin, Chief Executive Officer and President, Bersin & Associates. “This new research highlights a huge opportunity for companies to redirect existing expenditures to programs that significantly influence engagement and retention. The findings also suggest that recognition programs should align with an organization’s comprehensive performance management strategy to drive business results.”

From a business standpoint this shows the importance of a small gesture saying thank you. A few micro-rewards spread out strategically thanking an employee for all their hard work will go along way. From a money standpoint this would be a great investment for a business. Making someone feel appreciated for their work is as valuable now as it has always been.

How to Set KPIs for Your Business in 4 Simple Steps

How to Set KPIs for Your Business in 4 simple steps

What is a KPI?

Setting KPIs for Your Business

Step 1: Educate Yourself

Step 2: Evaluate Your Current KPIs

Step 3: Set Measurable Goals 

Step 4: Work with Your Team

Final Advice

We all measure success differently, especially when running a business. Since COVID began the way workplaces operate has drastically changed. With more people working remote and less in-person meetings, sometimes the end goal is lost. Working outside of the office removes the constant reminders of a company’s goals, which can play a negative role in the growth of a business.

Even prior to COVID it has always been a difficult task to keep employees engaged and on target. The question is how do you keep everyone moving in the right direction? How do we properly communicate to our employees what the corporate goals are, and earn their buy-in to the achieve those goals?

This is where KPIs come in and learning how to set them properly can take your business to the next level. Too often, people are using the wrong KPIs or not using KPIs that they should be. Setting the proper KPIs for your business will remove all the guesswork and give you definitive data to help drive not only your business’s success but employee’s success as well.

What is a KPI?

Before jumping into how to set your KPIs we should start by defining what a KPI is. KPI, short for key performance indicator, is a way of measuring and evaluating the success of an organization, team or individual. Think of a KPI as lights that guide you through a dark tunnel. This helps to lead everyone in the right direction and keep them on the path to success. This will not only help your employees but also your business. To learn more about KPIs and why they matter click here to read The Top 5 Reasons WHY KPI’s Matter to Your Business.

Good And Bad KPIs

Now that you know what a KPI is, let’s evaluate what good and bad KPIs look like. Often times a KPI is misunderstood and are too broad. Not setting proper KPIs can cause your team to go off track which will lead to poor results and targets not being met. Some examples of bad KPIs being used are:

  • Implement new payment portal by November
  • Win sales support award
  • Customer survey

The above examples are just a few of the many examples of a bad KPI. The first is a milestone which gives an indication of how a project progresses, but this is not performance based. The second example is very vague and can be interpreted in many ways. Lastly, the third one is just a tool used to collect data. All of these examples are not true performance measures. They are not clear, concrete or quanitifiable. This leads to confusion and data that does not truly help your business.

A Good KPI will be clearly defined and have actionable targets. As previously mentioned, a KPI is like a series of lights that guides you through a dark tunnel. Each light is like a checkpoint along the way to your end goal. You want to keep you and your team on track to reach the end of the tunnel before the lights go out. This is where a good KPI comes in to help drive everyone on the team in the right direction. We discussed what a bad KPI is but below are some examples of good KPIs:

  • Monthly sales growth
  • Sales by lead source
  • Traffic from organic search

All of these examples are clearly defined and quantifiable. This gives you and your employees something to clearly measure/track. These examples are just a few of the many KPIs out there. Use these as a guide but we will need to dig a little more to decide what the best KPIs are for your business.

Setting KPIs For Your Business

Now for the part you all have been waiting for; I promise I didn’t have you read through all that other stuff just to be let down. Everything leading up to this point is important to understand. By knowing what a KPI is and what makes up a good or bad KPI this gives you a strong foundation. From this point you are able to really analyze your business and make a calculated decision. Below I have listed some steps to help you setup KPIs for your team or business. You’ve already completed some of these steps just by reading this.

Step 1: Educate Yourself 

The information I have provided you earlier will give you a great start! When setting KPIs, understanding what they are and how they should work is crucial. However, don’t just take my word for it, do your own research. The more you know and understand KPIs the better and easier it will be to set KPIs for your business. No one will truly understand your business better than you so use that to your advantage when selecting KPIs.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Current KPIs

If you already have KPIs in place or some form of performance measurement you should take the time to look them over. Decide which you feel are beneficial and which you should remove. It will be worth your time and effort to evaluate your existing KPIs and make an educated choice about what is working and what isn’t. Now that you have learned more about KPIs you may view things in a different angle. A slight adjustment may take your current bad KPI and turn it into a good KPI.

Step 3: Set Measurable Goals

Be transparent with your employees about what you are looking for. Don’t leave anything up for question when setting your KPIs, the goals need to be clearly defined so that everyone is on the same page. KPIs are not one size fits all, as business goals vary from business to business. While there may be some overlap it is important to understand what your specific business objectives are. Do not just search for the best KPIs to use and role with it. You will need to figure out what exactly what matters to your business and what needs to happen for you to achieve your goals. This will require a little bit of work but ultimately will be worth it in the end.

Step 4: Work with Your Team

Without the support of the people running your teams, KPIs will just get ignored. Help them to understand the importance of this. Sit down with all parties involved such as managers or analysts to further discuss what goals they see as important. During these conversations you will quickly find what business processes should be measured. Take this information and match them with how measuring these objectives will help your business. Involving multiple levels of your team in the planning process will ensure everyone is on board, which will help provide accurate data and lead to better communication.

Some Final Advice

Businesses are constantly growing and changing. Your goals today may not be the same as they will be tomorrow. Be prepared to make adjustments if need be. Stay agile and keep in close contact with your leadership team. Communication throughout the business is one of the most crucial parts to ensure success. Throughout the process of setting your business KPIs communication plays a major role. You will need to remain in communication to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Checking in periodically to see if anything has changed or any updates can be provided. Setting proper KPIs will help you keep a strong foundation no matter what happens. If you use the steps outlined above, you will have a great start to setting KPIs for your business.

How to Avoid Data Drown – The Complete Guide

How to Avoid Data Drown – The Complete Guide

How to Avoid Data Drown
  1. What is data drown?
  2. Determine Where You’re Going
  3. Map It Out
  4. Learn to Swim
  5. Let ZIZO Throw You a Line

Drowning in Data? 

You’re not alone! Cisco estimated in 2019 that the Internet of Things would produce over 500 zettabytes per year in data. Years later, the world is producing data at an even more rapid rate, and will only to continue to grow from here. 

Every day, businesses are flooded with endless amounts of information. From employee performance information to customer habits post-transaction, it can be overwhelming to differentiate the important information from the white noise. 

The endless amount of reports is overwhelming – and is it really worth it?   

Of courseStudies show that companies who experience a 10% increase in the usability of their data enjoy an average revenue increase of $2 billion. 

What is Data Drown?

You know that feeling when you’re trying to use data to help you make a decision, but instead of making things easier, you start to feel more and more overwhelmed by the second?  

That’s data drown. 

Globally, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data produced every day. This amount of information provides both a wealth of possible insights, and an overwhelming place to start when making business decisions. So overwhelming that only 26% of business execs report using big data in their decision making. 

Chances are, the remaining 74% are drowning in data rather than using it to drive their business!  

If this is sounding all too familiar, there is still hope for you to swim, rather than sink, in your company’s data lake. 

Determine Where You’re Going 

Data is too important in today’s business operations for you to get out of the pool. Instead, you need to make the conscious effort to swim.  

We know that there are endless amounts of data available to us, but do we even know where to find the data that we actually need? 

If you needed to increase productivity using the data you have, would you know where to start? Would you even know what data you have access to and where to find it? 

If your answer wasn’t a resounding yes, you’re in the majority. In fact, up to 60% of time spent on data dives is just looking for the relevant data. When you take 60% of all the time you spend pulling reports in a day, it really adds up! Imagine what you could do with all that free time! 

As idealistic as it sounds, easy and time-efficient access to your data is closer than you think. In order to start the process, you’ll need to know what decisions you can make with data. The most common decisions revolve around: 

  • Finance 
  • Growth 
  • Marketing & Sales 
  • Customer Service 

From here, you can start to determine what decisions need to be made in each department. Think of planning your data-based decisions like a funnel, you start broad and gradually drill into precise information you need. 

Map it Out 

Now that you have a broad idea of what you want to accomplish, you’re ready to become a data-based decision maker. According to Super Office’s blog, you can use data to make decisions in 5 steps.   

  1. Determine and Prioritize Objectives 
  2. Find and Present Relevant Data 
  3. Draw Conclusions from the Data 
  4. Plan Your Strategy 
  5. Measure Success and Repeat 

Determine and Prioritize Objectives: 

Take a hint from ZIZO, and start by Zooming Out, what is the biggest piece of information that will provide you with the most insight towards your goals? Outline your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and determine what information you need to track those KPIs and where that information comes from. 

Staying at a view above the trees, consider all the pieces of data that you need to gain insights about each KPI.  Determine which KPIs are the most important to you and start mapping out what sources have the information you need to monitor them.  

Find and Present Relevant Data: 

When we’re considering massive amounts of information, there is typically way more available than necessary for business decisions and planning.  

So how do you decide what you need?  

This answer is deceptively simple; start big and reevaluate regularly, adding small additions until you have the big picture that you want to see.  

As you map out the large pieces of information that you need, the smaller data will become less and less overwhelming.

Learn to Swim 

Draw Conclusions from Data: 

Once you have the relevant information, you’re ready to finally turn your drown into something useful!  

Take the hard data that you’ve found and use it to draw insights about your KPIs. What is going the way you wanted it to? What isn’t? 

Plan Your Strategy: 

Evaluate the data and determine how the information would need to change to be better. Next, decide what factors will move that data in the right direction ad start mindfully making adjustments.

Measure Success and Repeat: 

Of course no business process is complete without evaluation. After implementing your strategy, pull the same data for the same KPIs, have they improved? 

If they haven’t, what other changes can improve the KPIs? What other insights would help you to create a better solution in the future? 

Repeat the process and continue to do so on a regular basis. Before you know it, you’ll go from drowning in data to driving business objectives with data! 

Let ZIZO Throw You a Line 

Still feel like you’re treading water? The process can be overwhelming, trust us – we know! ZIZO was developed to eliminate the entire headache causing process. 

By now, we know that aggregating and using your data is an incredibly powerful tool and performing data dives is a necessary and worthwhile way to use your resources in order to see your business grow. 

However, it is still time consuming to perform repetitive tasks every day to pull the reports you need on KPIs and business performance. Instead, automate the process with ZIZO 

We connect all of your operating software into our common data warehouse, to eliminate the need for data dives. Using a centralized warehouse allows you to access all of your company’s relevant information without the hassle of jumping from system to system. 

In addition to the ease of access, one integrated data warehouse provides you with peace of mind knowing that the information is coming directly from it’s source, leaving little room for clerical and human errors.  

Once all of your information is housed in one place, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of your companies information in one place. Now, instead of spending 60% of your data dive trying to figure out what data you need and from where, you can quickly and efficiently pull reports from one easy dashboard. 

ZIZO utilizes company-specific needs to determine what type of reports we map for easy access. Then, we provide all stakeholders with a completely customized dashboard that provides quick views of the most important data to them. 

If swimming seems a little to exhausting for you, you don’t have to drown! Just float and let ZIZO do the work. 

Will Generation X Adapt to the New Way the World Works?

Will Generation X Adapt to the New Way the World Works?

Will Generation X Adapt

Defining Gen X

Gen X at Work

Gen X and Gamification

Gen X’s Adaptability


There’s no denying that the workforce is being taken over by Millennials and Gen Z workers. If fact, within the next five years, 75% of the workforce will be made up of members of the Millennial and Gen Z generation.

Naturally, employers have shifted their focus to these younger generations in an effort attract the best young talent. These cohorts think, work and act differently, and they expect the same from their employers. If you’ve read any of our previous blogs about Gen Z and Millennial workers, you know that companies need to enact a lot of changes to appeal to these generations. You may have even gotten the impression from our blogs that ZIZO exclusively caters to the young and tech savvy workforce.  

While ZIZO was founded partially on the basis of closing the gap between businesses and the new generational workforce – we certainly don’t want to leave anyone behind, especially not our experienced and respected Gen X fellows. 

I get questions all the time about Generation X employees and how they’ll fit into the ZIZO platform. Skeptics are concerned that the less tech-y generation won’t appreciate the gaming elements ZIZO brings to their workday. Without their participation, the success of gamification hangs in the balance. 

Personally, I don’t think it’s fair to assume someone won’t enjoy tech and gaming in their day-to-day due to their age 


Defining Gen X 

Generation X refers to those born between 1965 and 1980Sandwiched between two notorious generations, Gen X is often referred to as America’s ‘Middle Child’. Upon further investigation, this reference could not be truer for the middle of the road generation.  

Often referred to as ‘latch key kids’, Gen X grew up before the era of helicopter parents and participation trophies. This instilled a great deal of independence in the generation, as they’re accustomed to taking care of themselves and holding themselves accountable without outside influencers. 

In juxtaposition to their younger counterparts, Gen X hasn’t been on the internet for the majority of their lives. Daily use of tech and smart phones gained steam later in their lives, which allowed them to develop communication skills sans technology. This, in-turn, means Gen X employees are well adept at collaboration and direct, in-person communication.  

Despite their later-in-life introduction to technology, this generation remains highly involved with technology. Gen X frequently participates in social media and are extremely flexible when it comes to learning and adjusting to new technology. 

Gen X at Work 

Gen X grew up watching their predecessors grind away with long hours and workaholic tendencies, while this instilled a strong work ethic in the generation; it also created a desire to ‘live a little’. Known as the ‘work hard, play hard’ creators, we can thank Generation X for the trend shift towards work-life balance 

Although younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z are often given the credit for the demand of more amenities in the workplace, Generation X is who really deserves the thanks. Open office plans and the separation from dreary masses of cubicles began in the 90’s – when Generation X began demanding more forward-thinking work environments.  

The generation’s contribution to the workforce doesn’t stop at their demand for a less depressing work environment; Generation X brings a lot to the workplace table. 

  • They’re great communicators. Gen X professionals are notoriously direct compared to younger generations. This brings the ability to have open and honest conversations to the workplace, which in turn allows a more relaxed and transparent environment. Gen X’s strong communication skills lends them perfectly to collaboration; competency working with others is a huge asset to Generation X professionals. This skill has served them well when working on teams and is what earned the group recognition for their strong networking skills 
  • They lead. In 2019, 51% of global leadership positions were held by Generation X cohorts. This monopoly on leadership can be attributed to many factors; but perhaps the strongest is the desire to lead. As a member of the Gen X generation, I can attest to the natural need to lead and be independent. Maybe it is due to the independent nature of our childhood’s or to the unique environment we grew up in. Whatever the reason, there is no denying the group’s drive for leadership; in a global study, over half of the 18,000 Gen X participants polled reported that becoming a leader was important to them.  
  • They won’t take critics too hard. This is yet another positive attribute the Gen X can credit to their uniquely independent upbringings. Born and raised before helicopter parents and participation trophies, Gen X doesn’t expect unnecessary nicetiesWhile their younger counterparts often lose sleep over a harsh remark or criticism at work, Generation X professionals embrace the same feedback as a means to improve.  
  • They’re more tech-y than they get credit for. While internet wasn’t a major deal during the developing years of Generation X, most Gen X professionals used it regularly early on in their careers. The use of technology isn’t necessarily innate for Gen Xers, but they were at the forefront of the movement from paper to digital, forcing adaptability and quick mastery of technology. Gen X are very active streaming, using email and even on social media; in fact, almost half report spending over an hour a day on their smart phone.  

Gen X and Gamification 

So by now we know that the inflexible and traditional Gen Xer is a myth, but gaming? That might just be too immature for a workforce over 40. The data tells us that this is yet another myth.  

In fact, 46% of Gen Xers polled reported playing online games at least on a weekly basis. In addition, Generation X are the original creators of the entire movement! The internet was created by Generation X, why would it be too ‘young’ for us?  

Gen X’s Adaptability  

As frequently mentioned throughout the article, we know that Gen X has a faulty reputation for being unwilling to adapt. Generation X is often lumped into Baby Boomer’s hesitation to interact with technology and adjust with the times; let’s put an end to that myth today.  

When I’m once again asked the inevitable question about older employees resisting ZIZO, I think I can confidently respond that Gen X won’t have a problem adapting to a better way to work. At this point, I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you yet again that members of Gen X have lived through many major transitions in our world. The generation is one of the most adaptable and neutral groups in the workforce, so no, I don’t think they’ll be a squeaky wheel when ZIZO arrives on their desks.  

How to Create a Positive Work Environment During COVID

The COVID Workplace Problem:

Do you remember it? That special time in our lives, when dining in crowded restaurants was in vogue, hugging the friends we bumped into was a pleasure, and when arena seating at concerts and sporting events was just a natural part of our lives? There was so much freedom, confidence and connection with others in our world. Then one day, this nasty little bug called COVID-19 came around and completely disrupted our existence. Businesses closed, weddings and parties were prohibited, and just try to find toilet paper or hand sanitizer during quarantine.

Masks are now part of our DMO, friends get an elbow instead of a hug, and restaurants that are now ½ full (or ½ empty depending on your view) are required to sanitize our tables before and after we can use them. To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure about concerts or sporting events at this point! One thing that is certain, is that our lives have changed and our new normal has become filled with a bit of uncertainty and apprehension. How can we get past this?

While we can say that change is always a sign of the times, one thing that hasn’t changed is our need to connect as human beings. But, how? You’ve most likely seen all of battles that take place over opinions on social media, social distancing seems to be another wedge that can push us further apart as people “if” we let it. As quarantines are lifted and people begin returning back to work, the over-abundance of information, misinformation and opinions can lead to even more uncertainty as health concerns and logistics become the fore-front of our thinking. Tensions can run high and a whole new layer of stress can be added to our day, again, “if” we let it. New methods and technologies are required for a work force that exists onsite and now, online.



How Can We Create a More Positive Experience in the Workplace?

Okay, I suppose I’ve poked the bear enough for now. The real question is, how do we create a more positive and experience in our workplace during these times of COVID? Well, I thought you’d never ask! This is a bit tricky to answer at first, but as we dig into what drives our behaviors and emotions, we’ll start to identify just what it takes to fulfill some of our basic human needs. From there, we’ll have a much better opportunity in fulfilling the needs of a larger number of people and therefore creating conditions that aid in producing a more positive experience for the greater majority.



The Science Behind the Solutions:

As a student of the human spirit and a practitioner in modalities such as, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, personal training, meditation, as well as being scrum master of multiple teams, I’ve worked with hundreds of people over the years to educate and help them produce positive results in their personal and professional lives.

Every person looks at life through their own lens and sees it their own way. While this can be wildly different among people, psychologist Abraham Maslow broke down our human needs into five basic categories. These include:

1. Physiological – our basic survival needs, such as food, water, breathing, etc.

2. Safety – Health and wellness, shelter, employment security, stability, free from injury

3. Social – Family, friendships, romantic partnerships, groups, and communities.

4. Esteem – Respect and appreciation for and from others, feelings of accomplishment.

5. Self-Actualization – Achieving one’s full potential with one’s talents and being.


It’s easy to see from the above pyramid how survival and safety needs can occupy the foundation of our existence, however as we continue higher up the pyramid, our needs become more complex by adding in values, beliefs, traditions and personalized viewpoints. These perceptions become the relationships between our inner and outer worlds. Motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins has further broken down our human relationship needs into 6 different areas. These are:

  • Certainty – a feeling of confidence in a particular situation.
  • Variety – a feeling, of doing something different or change
  • Significance – a feeling that you are an important part of something.
  • Love /Connection – a feeling of deep caring and/or rapport with others
  • Growth – a feeling of moving beyond our current state. The ability to improve.
  • Contribution – a feeling of giving of oneself.

As individuals, these needs not only have a different priority of importance to each of us, but we also apply completely different sets of rules in how we believe they can be achieved. Let’s take significance for a moment. When you compare it to certainty, love / connection or growth, which carries more importance to you? Can you think of a time you felt truly significant in a relationship? What happened for you to feel this way? Did someone tell you, do something, give you something, or was it an internal knowing you had? How often does this need to happen for you to feel significant? Now, simply change the relationship from work related to romantic or vise-versa. Did your answers change? You see, your answers are your rules. They’re different for everyone and can change depending on the situation.

In the above two lists, the greater the number of personal needs that are met for us in our lives, the stronger we value our relationships and thus, the more positive and fulfilling our experiences become.


14 Ways to Foster Wellness in the Workplace:

With everyone so different, how can we apply these thoughts into creating a positive work experience? At ZiZo we’ve incorporated many of these thoughts into our gamification tools. By fostering an attitude of growth, esteem, communication and education, along with fun, a friendly sense of competition, and reward based achievement, our goal is to help create a unified workforce that focuses not only on production, but on building careers and establishing personnel that invests into their own growth as well as the growth of the team.

Whether your team is on-site or working remotely, here are some tips in creating a more positive experience in the workplace during this COVID period and beyond. These tips have been organized in a way to help handle some of our basic human and relationship needs. You’ll notice that there is a cross-over between them.

1. Setting up clear communication to express your strategies during a crisis.

What’s going on? Have you heard anything about…? Just how do your employees get their information? Without a unified point of communication as well as timely updates, information that is spread by word of mouth can quickly become misinformation. Consider setting up centralized points (online and offline) for employees to receive clear and consistent info with updates that affect your business. Fear can be a strong motivator. Nip it in the bud before it blossoms out of control.

2. Using team communication tools such as Slack.

Tools such as Slack are wonderful for team communication. General, individual and team specific channels can include up to 2000 people for text, video and phone communication. All posting privileges can be regulated, so important announcements can remain uncluttered and without comments. This can help instill employee confidence by providing direct contact and company-wide communication. Keep in mind, too many updates are just that. Too much! Reading a plethora of emails or “important” posts can add stress and a sense of overwhelm as employees attempt to keep up.

3. Respecting social distancing and masks

Let’s face it, masks are a pain. Then again, COVID can be a much bigger one. Implementing government guidelines shows responsiveness and builds trust that you’re working to provide a safe environment. As quarantines and guidelines lessen, allowing employees to remain wearing masks, sanitizing workstations and social distancing (where possible) ensures continued confidence that safety measures will remain in place until the crisis passes. Let them know you’ve got their backs!

4. Leaders – time to take the lead

In times of uncertainty, confidence breeds confidence. Share your plan. Get all upper-management onboard and speak about your mission and vision. Include the workforce in your vision and allow them to be part of the bigger picture. Offer your words of encouragement and express plans on how jobs are going to be kept. Then go to numbers 5 & 6.

5. Set up clear communication for workers to express their concerns.

You will never understand the fears and concerns of your employees if you don’t hear them. Set up a forum where workers can ask questions and voice their concerns. Send out surveys and get opinions. If you ask, be prepared to address and act. Actions reinforce the significance of others. Repetition establishes a sense of certainty.

6. Set up clear communication for workers – Part II

Engagement: Offer a way for employees to make positive suggestions to improve company performance and conditions. Online boards such as Trello offer great ways for teams to share progress and ideas. Reward the great suggestions by publicly acknowledging them and then act on them. Action means you’ve taken the comments seriously, and that the employees are a significant part of the team.

7. Daily stand-up meetings

In the spirit of Scrum, daily meetings are used to share information among teams that typically consist of anywhere between 3 and 9 members. These team meetings are strictly held to 15 minutes and while standing, team members answer three specific questions.

1. What work did you do yesterday to help the team?
2. What will do today to help the team?
3. Do you have any roadblocks or impediments that will slow or stop your progress?

Meetings are held at the same time every day and a scrum master facilitates them. Any roadblocks are noted and addressed after the meeting. Any additional issues are tabled and handled by the appropriate team members after the meeting. This is a great way for the team to share progress and accountability. After the meeting, teams are encouraged to share ideas in improving productivity. This will benefit all industries.

8. Consider virtual coffee breaks and happy hours – planned and unplanned.

During the height of quarantine in New York, my wife and I invited some friends over for a wine and movie night. While that may have raised an eyebrow or two, we did this completely virtual. We selected a movie (stand-up comedy actually) on a streaming network, hit play at the same time, all while our laptops streamed our faces. We were able to see each other’s reactions in real time and hadn’t laughed quite that hard in a long time. Try setting up a virtual water cooler with Zoom or Gotomeetings where people can pop in and out at random times and interact with whoever happens to be there. This is another way to help create and maintain human connection at a time where it’s been limited. The randomness of the moment can help add variety to the day.

9. Offer mental health relief from stress and anxiety

Can we talk? I’ve personally been meditating on and off since the early 90’s. I’ve also been teaching classes and courses on it for nearly 10 years. The past few semesters, I have been invited to teach it at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Let me say, that I don’t meditate to be a better meditator. I meditate, because it makes me better at living my life. I’m more productive and more at peace than I’ve ever been. While those years haven’t been completely without stress (sometimes quite the opposite), the stress has been a temporary condition and not a chronic response. Try offering meditation, mindfulness, tai chi, chi gong, yoga, hypnosis or anything else that can calm the mind and body. People need this!

10. Create a transparent work path

We all have our strengths and weaknesses in life. Sometimes we try so hard to make improvements, only to find our wheels spinning in the dirt. In business, our strengths are usually indicated by our performance in a given area. (called performance indicators or PI) However, some of those PIs aren’t key to the department and/or industry we are in. The ones that are key are called KPI or Key Performance Indicators. While success has different meanings for each of us, we all want to grow and be better at what we do. Wouldn’t it had been nice, if while working our way through the ranks, somewhere along the way, someone would have said, “This is what you need to do”? “This is where you’ll growth, and here is your greatest earning potential.”

Spend some time as you restructure to this new normal and define 3 to 5 KPIs that define the qualities that your top performing people achieve on a consistent basis, then offer a path to help educate, inspire and reward your workforce in all becoming top performers.

11. Friendly competitions to receive real rewards and benefits

In the previous suggestion, I mentioned that a person can have PIs that are not quite key to the department they are working in. As an example, think of someone on your sales staff with strong art skills. The ability to draw or play an instrument is great, but it doesn’t assist them in performing their tasks. What if there was a way to leverage some of their abilities and reward

them in the process? Well, you can. If your marketing department is preparing a new campaign and you’d like to engage the staff in this new vision, offering a friendly competition in design or creation is a great way to do this. Be creative yourself by offering gifts or bonuses that are special, such as time off, dinner with the boss, or monetary incentives. Remember, even a chicken scratch of a brilliant idea is still a brilliant idea!

12. Shout-outs to give credit where credit is due.

I heard a long time ago, that what you tell a person can be forgotten rather quickly. What you do for a person, has much more longevity, but can be forgotten over time. However, when you change the way a person feels, they’ll remember you for a lifetime. Statistically, people will invest much more time and emotion into something for gratitude, acceptance and recognition, than they will for money. Publicly acknowledging others for their work is a huge boost in confidence, connection, certainty and esteem. It will also show growth and allow for contribution. Win–Win!

13. Online learning / courseware

There are so many tools available online today that can help your workforce grow. Websites like, LinkedIn learning, Udemy and Coursera offer hundreds of courses and classes that are technology driven and industry specific. Take a look to see what courses are right for your organization and approve some content for employee learning. Remember, shout-outs, incentives and rewards go a long way when they coupled with a path for growth. A creative competition can always add that extra element of fun and connection. They say that the cream always rises to the top, but without the opportunity to rise, it will always stay hidden in the mix! This is a great opportunity for self-actualization and growth. Having employees train others in there talents offers contribution, growth, significance and esteem.

14. Last but not least – Exercise / Health and Wellness

There is a huge difference between fitness and health. Fitness has to do with our ability to perform certain tasks such as in sports, moving objects, running, jumping, etc. Health is our wellbeing and the condition of our body and body function. You can be very healthy and not too fit, and on the other hand, you can be very fit and not too healthy. When it comes to fitness or health, not many people know where to even start to improve their conditions. Offering exercise trainers, nutritionists, healthy recipes, company cookbooks, even corporate walks for a good cause can inspire health and wellness in the workforce. Corporate challenges for the most changed, most improved, most consecutive days in the gym can be rewarded as well as inspiration for others. When the body improves, the mind and attitude follows. When the mind and attitude improve, the body follows as well.

Thank you for reading. I’m wishing you all healthy and productive journey!