Employee Recognition that Feels Like Winning an Oscar

oscars

The hype of Hollywood Awards season may have passed, but making your employees feel like they’re at the Academy Awards can happen all year long!

Every year, Hollywood stars celebrate their achievements from the previous year while we watch in awe.  But beyond the glitz, glamour, fashion and box office revenues, why have these awards become so popular?

I believe it comes down to two very simple things: pride and respect. And it’s not just the entertainment industry –  even within the finance, technology or any other industry – recognition by peers is an honour for many.  The same applies in the workplace. In fact, employee recognition is a great approach to help motivate your people and retain your hardworking talent! And it doesn’t mean recognizing with extravagant rewards like trips and money.  While they’re always a nice bonus, it’s the respect gained through peer recognition that can add to an employee’s love of their workplace and motivate them to make an even bigger impact. [Read more…]

Softchoice Cares: Does aid really make a difference? [Video]

The first week of February marks International Development Week (IDW) – a time to explore and celebrate the difference volunteers are making around the world. In honor of this year’s event, Softchoice Cares – an employee-led philanthropic program focused on furthering computer literacy – has produced a video documentary of their 2012 trip to Bali. The team’s mission was to install new computer labs on behalf of seven Balinese orphanages managed by the Widhya Asih Foundation. But as the group learned, a ‘hand-out’ isn’t necessarily the same as a ‘hand-up’. [Read more…]

Mergers Fail when Cultures Clash

William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence yelled, “Freedom!” just before he was beheaded for treason. The attempted “merger” of Scotland with England was less than successful because the cultural differences were large enough to cause a war.

I have been involved in acquiring four companies over the past five years and while no wars have erupted, I can attest to the fact that cultural integration is the most nebulous and the most challenging. When cultures clash the hoped for synergies of an acquisition or merger disappear very quickly.

[Read more…]

Who Drives Company Culture?

I have worked at Softchoice for more than 18 years and one of the things that has proven to be most elusive is to define the company culture.  Who creates company culture? Where does it come from? I recently had Myrna Ain at AchieveBlue debrief me on my impact on Softchoice Company culture using the Management Impact survey from Human Synergistics.

I was blown away by how useful the tool was. Unlike many 360 tools, this put everything in the context of how I was impacting my direct reports and how they experienced the culture of Softchoice as a result. For the first time, I could clearly see the impact I was having on the culture of Softchoice. The debrief also helped me to connect that to some of my underlying beliefs and values that drive my actions.

[Read more…]

How the 2004 Tsunami changed the Softchoice Brand

Paul Asseff, Nick Foster, Edwin Jansen and Scott Harper volunteering in Tangalle

The day after Christmas 2004 many of us watched in horror as pictures of the Tsunami in South East Asia filled the press. For Softchoice, it was the beginning of a different kind of wave that changed our Brand.  Softchoice today is known for its corporate giving but it wasn’t always this way.

As a company we had not been involved in any kind of organized corporate giving. But, the employees of Softchoice decided that they could do more. They decided to raise money so that we could be involved in providing help. Grass roots fundraising started, garage sales were organized, bake sales were held, hats were passed at customer golf tournaments. I can’t tell you how many other events were run – some of them raising only hundreds of dollars – however the sum total of these activities raised $85,000 to be put to use in helping those that had lost so much. [Read more…]

Putting the FUN in fundraising to help youth ‘dodge’ a lifetime of poverty

[Softchoice’s Jen Wood raised $1,425.00 to help homeless youth dodge a lifetime of poverty through a  fun game of classic schoolyard dodgeball!]

Back in April, the Softchoice Cares Board gave ‘Power 2 the People’ by encouraging employees to nominate a local charity that has impacted their lives. The Softchoice Cares Board allocated a pool of $25,000 to match every dollar raised from events held by contestants or employees who wanted to support their cause. The board also announced that the host who raised the most money and created the most engagement would receive an additional $15,000 for their chosen charity, with second place receiving $7,500 and third $2,500.

Jen Wood, a Human Resources Analyst at Softchoice in Toronto, became involved with Youth Without Shelter last year and she was introduced by a friend who was volunteering with the shelter at the time. He showed her an emotionally-charged video that featured a young man who lost everything and fell victim to a life fueled by addiction. Youth Without Shelter (YWS), a homeless shelter in Etobicoke, offered him free shelter and access to professional development workshops, tools and counselling support to help him get back on his feet. [Read more…]