Making Work More Human with Derek Irvine

by | Oct 23, 2019 | Leadership, Personal Excellence & Authenticity, Podcast

Would you believe that a simple business initiative can decrease turnover by 50% AND inspire double-digit improvements in engagement and productivity? And it all starts with making work more human.

Today, we’re joined by Derek Irvine, the Senior VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Workhuman, the fastest-growing social recognition and continuous performance management platform in the world. Workhuman is on a mission to shape the future of work by helping organizations connect culture to a shared purpose. In his role, Derek supports clients in leveraging proven strategies and best practices to elevate employee engagement, increase retention and improve bottom-line results. A renowned speaker and author on the topic of making work more human, Derek is the coauthor of Winning with a Culture of Recognition and The Power of Thanks, and his work is regularly featured in the country’s top HR publications.

Derek starts by sharing Workhuman’s mission to help people bring their humanness to work, discussing how anyone in an organization can initiate that change. He describes Workhuman’s dual focus on gratitude and employee recognition as well as continuous performance management. Derek also offers insight around how a high frequency of recognition positively impacts other business metrics, including productivity, engagement and employee retention. Listen in to understand what differentiates Workhuman Live from other conferences of its kind and learn how to make the business case for making work more human.


Themes explored in this week’s episode

  • How Derek’s background in performance improvement and brand marketing inform his work at Workhuman
  • The difference between Theory X and Theory Y management styles
  • The toxicity of a work culture where feedback is weaponized
  • Workhuman’s aim to help people come to work as themselves and how anyone can initiate that change in the workplace
  • Workhuman’s dual focus around gratitude and employee recognition + continuous performance management
  • How the concept of social recognition empowers ALL employees to recognize each other
  • How a shift from governance and control to humanness impacts pay equity, diversity and inclusion, and performance management
  • How recognition leads to double-digit improvements in business metrics like productivity, engagement, retention and connectedness
  • The disproportionate focus on constructive over positive feedback in traditional performance management systems
  • What differentiates Workhuman Live from other conferences of its kind and how organizers live the message with unique opportunities for gratitude and recognition
  • Leaning into your values and having the courage to bring them to life

Resources from this episode

Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr. Derek Irvine speaking with attendees at the 2017 WorkHuman conference at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.

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