The Biggest Myths About Employee Engagement

Delivering happiness at work is often thought of as a mysterious combination of hard to deliver perks that employers struggle to provide and that employees rarely appreciate. However what if I told you that what your employees really want is to deliver their best work possible? And that all they need from you is permission to be happy?


Unconvinced? Read on.


Happy employees are engaged employees. And engaged employees are far more likely to deliver results for your organization in the long run. According to a recent study from BI worldwide, nine out of ten happy employees agree with this statement: “I feel an obligation to work as hard as I can for my organization.” It’s never been more important to crack the code of employee happiness. The confusion comes in when employers try to interpret what that means.


Here are the biggest myths employers believe about what makes employees happy.


MYTH 1: Large Paychecks Equal Loyalty

Sometimes it’s far easier to open the company coffers than fix the underlying problems that add to de-motivation, and that’s a problem. Too often managers assume that a large paycheck or financial based rewards are what motivate employees. Extensive research by Gallup, as well as Tim Judge has shown the correlation between job satisfaction and pay is very weak, as well as no significant difference in employee engagement by pay level. Several studies over the past decade have shown that if you want your workforce to be focused and engaged, money is not the answer.


MYTH 2: Employees should be satisfied with their current role

It’s easy to fall into the trap of penalizing employees for being ambitious when what you need at the moment is complacency. The same motivation that was prized when your employee was hired shouldn’t be denigrated when they see no path forward in your organization. A recent SHRM survey showed 83% of respondents said career advancement was very important to them. If you want to retain your employees, creating a pathway for advancement should be seen as necessary. The best way to discover your employee’s goals are during performance reviews and regular meetings.


MYTH 3: Happy employees probably aren’t busy enough

Tight budgets and lack of a data-driven performance assessments mean that employers often associate happy employees with lazy employees. The sight of employees laughing and talking mid-day can often equate, in a stressed out manager’s mind, to loafing or on the job laziness. However the research is compelling. Happy employees are between 12% and 20% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. If that doesn’t spell a good return on happiness, I’m not sure what does!


MYTH 4:Recognition Programs have a low ROI

An employee recognition program is the easiest way to deliver the type of specific, thoughtful attention employees need. An IRF study on the value and ROI of employee recognition showed that recognition programs have the potential, unlike compensation and incentive-based programs, to create a positive cycle of ever-increasing employee engagement and motivation.


When Delta Airlines implemented a recognition program based on their strategy and core values, they reported a 564% return on their investment.


A well thought out  engagement program that ensures that both employee and employer are getting the most out of the relationship can go a long way to creating the type of environment where employees thrive. With a tool like Bucket List, employees can recognize each other for their accomplishments, and companies can reward employees by helping them achieve their life goals.


This way, both employer and employee get exactly what they need to be happy.


Learn more about how to create a fun work environment by downloading the free Bucket List report on workplace happiness.





About Bucket List:

Bucket List is a rewards and recognition platform that empowers employees to recognize each other’s achievements, and allows companies to reward their hard work by helping them achieve their life goals. Get more information about how Bucket List can help you build a world-class culture and challenge your employees to do the best work of their life.

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The Fastest Route to Effective Team Building

It’s no secret that team building activities are a great way to increase employee engagement. While games and off-site activities are an important part of building a great team, if there’s no spark within the 4 walls of the office, your efforts to put a smile on everyone’s face may not add up to much.


A 2014 Gallup poll showed that almost 87% people are dissatisfied with their jobs. It’s never been more important to integrate team building activities into the daily office environment. Think it’s impossible? Think again!


The best companies approach team building from the inside out. They consider how to support and recognize employees seamlessly during the workday so employees need less ‘stuff’ and get excited by the prospect of work itself.


Here are 3 basic strategies to kick up the office environment and have a little bit of fun.



When employees are encouraged to take small breaks to play, great things happen. A recent study from BrightHR showed that employees who have fun in the workplace take less sick leave, are more productive, and actually work harder.


Just as there is structured work time, there should also be structured play time. Giving your team the chance to turn away from their screens to talk, laugh, and joke around can help everyone loosen up and blow off a little steam. Standing up to play hackey sack, batting around a beach ball, or an impromptu dart gun war can provide the most memorable team building activities out there.


Companies like Zappos and Southwest Airlines know this, and use humor and fun as the foundation of their business culture. When you need your team to buckle down, consider prepping them for their work by lightening up the atmosphere with some planned fun time.


Create a flexible working environment

A physical work environment that gives employees the flexibility to work where they are most productive doesn’t require cutting-edge architects, designers, or a large budget. By providing cubes, tables, and alternate areas for employees to work during the day, employees can seek quiet when they need focus, or collaboration when necessary.


A 2013 report from architectural firm Gensler found that the most effective workplaces provide a balance of focus and collaboration, and offer employees choice as to where and how they work. The tax services company Ryan follows this example by adhering to a policy called ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) which allows employees to untether from their desks and work wherever they are most productive, as long as they are hitting their clearly defined work goals. By empowering employees to choose the environment that’s necessary to do their best work, they feel supported, empowered, and happy.


Implement a recognition program that works

It’s difficult to build a strong team when it’s unclear who’s doing what. Many workplaces strive to create a culture of transparency, or provide amazing events for employees but fail to reward them in ways that are actually meaningful for them personally.


Being recognized by a manager or leader for good performance is important, but often managers lack the insight of an employee’s peers. A SHRM study found that peer-to-peer recognition is 37% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.


When employees are empowered to recognize each other in front of their peers, a culture of transparency is truly born.


Recognition programs that work are organic and start from the ground up. With a tool like Bucket List, employees can recognize each other for their accomplishments, and companies can reward employees by helping them achieve their life goals.


Learn more about how to create a fun work environment by downloading the free Bucket List report on workplace happiness.

Download the FREE Happiness 101 Report

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Team building activities for world-class companies

Team Building Activities for Growing Companies

Motivating a team to do their best work can be tricky. Providing the tools and resources to achieve is important, but many managers find their teams need an extra push to unleash that extra effort. When teams are given the opportunity to bond emotionally, they actually care about who they’re working with on a daily basis. Caring about one’s team often translates to caring more about one’s work. This leads to increased productivity, easier communication, and a higher level of performance. One of the easiest ways to create an opportunity for emotional bonding is through team building activities.

Different than the typical after-work happy hour, true team building activities allow employees to get to know each other within the context of day-to-day work and build the trust and closeness that makes their job about more than a paycheck.

Here are 3 Team Building Activities that will help you build stronger relationships with your employees and teams.

  1. Shout-outs and Stand-ups 

Shout-outs are simple meetings that let employees recognize each other in public. A simple shout-out meeting might take place at the end of the week. Every employee stands in a big circle, and everyone has a chance to recognize another employee for helping them do their work that week. Allowing employees to give each other shout-outs, in front of managers and fellow employees gives visibility into everyone’s work roles, and helps build trust, empathy, and understanding. A public thank you for a very specific reason can go a long way to help employees feel appreciated and valued.

2.  Recognition Awards

As companies grow and budgets get tighter, it can be difficult to find an impressive way to reward employees without breaking the budget. To combat this, try letting your internal teams recognize the outstanding efforts of their coworkers. Instead of rewarding employees with an impersonal gift certificate or a coffee card, let your teams create a unique ‘prize’ the employee can keep on their desk for the week. Keep things fun and simple, and let the focus stay on peer recognition.

3. Goal Setting Exercises

The best way to encourage your employees to set and achieve goals in the workplace is to allow them to integrate their personal goals into the process as well. Group goal setting exercises help employees share and support each other’s efforts, and help them get to know each other in an easy and relaxed atmosphere. Bucket List’s rewards and recognition platform is a great, low cost way for teams of all sizes to set goals and recognize and reward each other in real time.

Learn more about how Bucket List for corporate teams can be a seamless, low-cost, and fun way for your employees to recognize and reward each other in real time. 


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Positive Corporate Culture

5 Signs of a Positive Workplace Culture

If you want a successful business, it’s important to create a positive workplace culture. Culture ensures employees are engaged and enthusiastic about your company’s mission.

Culture can be defined as the reality of working at your company. It’s the attitude of the internal group, which creates the public face to your company’s clients and customers.

Culture is the sum of what spills out onto the general public and is the basis of your company’s image and success.

Here are 5 Signs that your company is on the right track when it comes to positive workplace culture:

  1. Low Turnover

The first thing you notice in a positive, thriving workplace is the number of tenured employees present. When people have been with a company 3 years or more, it shows that employees see a clear career path for themselves, and that they are engaged with the company’s overall mission.  

FACT: One third of all new hires quit their job within the first 6 months of employment. Source.


  1. Employee Advocacy

In healthy workplaces, employees encourage and invite their friends and colleagues to fill open positions. They also actively promote their company’s culture and celebrate each other’s wins.

FACT: Referred employees have a 45% retention rate after 2 years. Source.


  1. Smiling Faces

This one’s easy. Have you ever walked into an office and just felt that something was wrong? The receptionist wasn’t friendly, there was a sharpness in the air, or something just felt off. Often, the signs of a healthy culture are front and center. People who are smiling, talking, and generally happy are most likely working harder and are more productive.

FACT: Happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy employees. Source.  


  1. Teams Communicate and Work Together

Healthy culture within a company is also represented by how teams work together and communicate. Do they freely share information, support each other’s initiatives and goals? A positive workplace culture will encourage and align internal teams to work in concert with each other.

FACT: 39% of surveyed employees believe people in their organization don’t collaborate enough. Source.


  1. Great Tools and Processes

Once a company has established core values and a solid mission, great tools and processes put in place will help them live that culture to the fullest.


There are a number of tools, systems you can implement to get a good sense of your employee engagement is like. 

One of the best tools for retention, recognition, and advocacy is Bucket List, which helps employees recognize each other and employers reward each other for their accomplishments.


Get a handle on your corporate culture and request a Bucket List demo today





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New Years Resolutions Day & Happy New Year!

Hello Bucket List peeps,

We just wanted to say that we really appreciate you and are excited for all that you will do in 2016!!! You may or may not know, but Jan 1 is always the busiest day of the year on our website. I was going to take a moment to write a “new year”/”new years resolutions” note but then I received a great email from an inspirational friend of mine Curtis Christopherson (AKA “Coach Curtis”, thats what I call him anyways ;-)) and I thought it was a perfect message to share with our community. Hope you guys enjoy it reading it as much as I did this morning.


Here is the email:

Subject:  New Years Resolutions Day & Happy New Year

For many people this is the last day before they “change their lives forever”. This is the last day of gluttony before they begin to eat their new diet, this is the last day of sloth before they decide to exercise, or this is their last day of greed before they begin to spend more time with their families. This is the day of high hopes and good intentions, the day where everyone is planning on becoming better.

Unfortunately, the reality for the majority of resolutioners is that this is the last day you will have hope, because most resolutions don’t make it out of the first month.

This doesn’t mean that we sack our hopes and continue with the status quo. This doesn’t mean that we throw our goals out the window and succumb to the life we are tired of living. This does mean that we need to understand why we fail so that we have the ability to continue once failure happens. Failure doesn’t stop our resolutions, quitting does. One (quitting) we have complete control over and the other (failure) we have partial control over.

The first reason our resolutions don’t work is because we fail to talk to ourselves correctly. When we make resolutions we frequently use the word “don’t”. “Don’t eat too much food”, “don’t miss the day at the gym”, “don’t waste the day”. When it comes to focus, your mind doesn’t recognize the word “don’t” and because of this we create a negative self-fulfilling prophecy which empowers exactly what we are trying not to do. If we put a purpose to our thinking then we have a more powerful thought process. “I am going to the gym today because………” allows us to focus on why we are doing what we are going to do and takes out the passive nature of “don’t”. When we speak to ourselves powerfully, we create powerful thinking, which then creates empowerment. And might…just might…create the RESULTS (aka change) we are after.

The second reason resolutions fail is because we attach our goals to people outside of ourselves. “I am going to spend more time with my family because they need to see me more often” is a great resolution but is essentially generic and external. Half of this resolution is dependant on the idea that your family will be around to spend time with you. Any changes we make in life need to be selfish acts. This does not mean that you are a selfish person; it just means that you need to take control over you before you can become anything to someone else. When we act on the behalf of others, they have the control. When control is outside of ourselves then we don’t stand a chance to make the change because we don’t have the investment in change.

The final reason resolutions fail is because we are afraid to fail. Our fear of failure allows us to back out once things get tough. By doing this we are able to justify to ourselves that we chose to quit, we didn’t fail the task. Your reality is that if you are making a resolution, at some point you will fail, temptation during the initial stages of change are just too great. Failure however is not the end point of the journey, instead it is a new beginning where you are able to start off smarter then you were the last time you started. If you are unwilling to accept your role in failure then you are destined to repeat the same exact failure. If you are willing to see your fault, then you are willing to go beyond fear and enter empowerment, which ultimately will create the change you are seeking.

If you are among the millions of people who make resolution at this time of year, remember that without the power of you, your resolutions don’t stand a chance. If your current state of mind won’t allow you to commit, then save yourself the time and don’t try to fake the commitment. If you are seeking change in life you need to understand that resolutions aren’t a once a year thing, resolutions are an every day effort that ebbs and flows with the demands and changes of your life; once you are ready to accept them.

On that note, in 2016 I encourage all of you to challenge yourself, be open to be challenged by someone else, take your health serious, focus on any goals you have set, be committed at achieving the results you are after, take risks, maximize opportunity, and most importantly take control of your destiny. Life is not easy and there will be obstacles and unforeseen challenges that will come your way but if you surround yourself with great people, you should have the support you need.

I’m looking forward to spending time, sharing thoughts, collaborating, and/or just rocking out life with each and every one of you next year. Happy New Year to all of you — my friends, family and peers!

Here is to a healthy, happy, and a very successful (whatever you deem that to be) year in 2016!

Curtis Christopherson

Coach Curtis

Check Coach Curtis out on Linked In & Twitter

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