Q&A: Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley on His Book 'The Power of Thanks'


We are in the midst of a new era of recognition -- social recognition -- in which it's not just the boss who holds the power to give kudos to the workers. That is one of the main ideas discussed in The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work, the new book by Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley and Globoforce Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting Derek Irvine.

The book draws on the executives' decades in the recognition industry and work with top-tier clients like Intuit, JetBlue Airways, and ConAgra Foods to lay out a strategy that any company can apply to their own organization. Incentive spoke with Mosley about the book and why it should interest today's managers, executives, and employees.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: I have the privileged position here in that every week we see the world's best companies and how they build their culture and support the human side of their work. We see companies come to the table when they have recognition programs that are old-fashioned or not thought out, and redefine the core of where modern social recognition should or shouldn't be. You see these patterns time and time again and devise best practices from that.

When you see these programs up close and companies trying to build cultures, you get to see what works and what doesn't and where excellence is in these areas. We've seen a real change in how companies view things like culture, recognition, gratitude, and goodwill in a company. We wanted companies to document the state-of-the-art culture-building and true social recognition.

Q: How is the book organized?

A: It starts at the top level - the need to create a great culture that differentiates a company from the competition, and looks at the human side of employees. Then we move to a game plan for how to build those programs or environments, related in the fact that recognition programs have been around for decades but many were badly structured. That's where social recognition comes in. It's really the reinvention of recognition - it's not just the 10 percent of top-performing employees anymore, but bringing 80 or 90 percent of the workforce into the effort. The book ends with a look to the future of recognition.

Q: How have you seen social recognition revolutionize workplace engagement?

A: It's a democratization of recognition, an incredible growth in people's ability to express gratitude and thanks, rather than a simple competition of who will win an award where there is one winner and lots of losers. Every human being in the company has these needs and an effective social recognition program sees that these needs are fulfilled not just by the organization's leader, but by the grassroots. It's almost like the leader says "I can't be everywhere, so I'll empower my employees to spend this money that we put toward social recognition to reinforce this culture.

Q: What are some ways you suggest companies can put such a social recognition program in place?

A:  The book gives a game plan for creating this type of recognition, moving from top-down to peer-driven. If you empower people to give each other awards or to have thank-you moments, you can just get out of their way and let them do it. People are touched by great performances all the time. When you get out of people's ways, they can express their inherent gratitude. It's about the human side of the work to build a great company. The book distills the best practices and learnings that we've had and offers up solutions that can help every company build the next generation of employees.