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How Haven Life uses merit badges to make working life less difficult



Merit Marks. You probably have not thought of them since your scout days, or since the whirlwind Pokémon Go in the summer of 2016. But it turns out – as all young scout and / or mobile video game enthusiasts will tell you – they are quite motivating. They are a pleasure to give and to receive.

And that's why the team at Haven Life has started using them as part of an innovative alternative to your regular monthly employee. (No disrespect for anyone currently enjoying the dedicated parking lot for Employee of the Month.) It's called the Badges Team Building Exercise, and it's been developed by fireworks, a Haven Life developer and productivity advocate. It is a new and unique team reward system where members of a team award digital badges to their colleagues. This ensures that everyone receives recognition and prevents what should be a good activity from becoming a competition. (As firecrow puts it, by handing out a month's employee award, "You make a person very happy and everyone hates them for it.") As an added bonus, it was easy to implement over the past year, when our team has been working at a distance and helped bring us all closer ̵

1; practically, at least.

The exercise has become so popular that fireflies have now guided 15 of Haven Life's 18 product teams through the exercise. To understand where this alternative idea came from, and how it works, we talked to birds, which gave us the decline. (But unfortunately no marks.)

In this article:

How it works

For a time, the Haven Life operations team had coins – actual, minted coins – which it distributed to other members of the overall team who showed extraordinary efforts.

When he saw it and thought back to a tradition from his childhood where members of his community would walk around at birthday parties and make wishes for the coming year, the guy made what he originally called brands Appreciation Retro, now known as Badges Team Building Exercise.

Once a quarter, the lighthouse keeper and his team gather for about 45 minutes. (At most companies, this type of meeting can be called post mortem, but at Haven Life we ​​avoid the morbid consequences and instead call it retro.) The purpose is to evaluate what we did well and what we could do better, on a project or for a certain period of time. In the firecrow version, the team works through a shared spreadsheet, live, with everyone's names on it and gives each other virtual tags. Each person takes three to five minutes and assigns all other people on the team a badge which is then represented in the spreadsheet by a number. When awarding badges, team members can comment on why a teammate earned a particular badge.

The marks recognize extraordinary effort (the Everest mark); careful attention to documentation (Scribe mark); "Perform an inhuman amount of work in a short time" (Speed ​​Demon brand); knowledge (the subject Matter Expert Expert brand); collaboration (Team Player brand); and leadership – The Lion brand. Team members can receive the same badge more than once; thanks to the meeting format, the badges are also given anonymously. "It's not competitive," notes the lighthouse keeper.

Can you give more than one mark to another person? Technically yes, notes of fireworks, but it's discouraged. Still, he adds, "Sometimes people get excited, and I'm not going to stop them."

Why it works

It is equal

Everyone gives marks and everyone gets marks. Again, this prevents a person from having the limelight completely to themselves. The diversity of brands also ensures a sense of accomplishment, as opposed to a "participant trophy" situation.

And as birds record, it can also act as a motivator. For example, if you never get the Speed ​​Demon badge, it may motivate you to pick up the pace and earn that badge next time.

Perhaps most importantly, the ethos of this approach rakes back to two important values ​​of Haven Life. The first is that we strive to make life less difficult – and quad bikes point out that a challenge for an organization that is very equal is that you do not get much direct feedback from a manager figure. Badges Team Building exercise helps to produce the important feedback. The second value is that we are important to each other. This exercise helps to promote accountability – if you are in any way short, the meeting will help you see how and why in a constructive way. It also generates recognition, and as we all know, hard and successful work deserves to be seen. In some organizations it is not. At Haven Life ensures exercises like this.

Hard and successful work deserves to be seen. At Haven Life ensures exercises like this.

It's specific

Ideally, according to the quadruplet, a team using this exercise would have about five to ten people on it, although you might consider doing it for a team as small as three. Someone bigger, and it can be difficult to see how a person performed; the exercise would also take much longer. By keeping it small, you can praise someone's efforts and achievements with real details and real anecdotes taken from your closely shared work experience.

It also helps to keep brands specific and work oriented and avoid having too many. The Speed ​​Demon badge works for the fireworks team and would probably work for yours (recognizes someone's ability to move fast). The Scribe badge may not make much sense if your team does not trust notes. You can replace it with something more specific.

In fact, quad bikes originally tried to keep some of the brands deliberately vague, but it did not work. "One of them was actually called exemplary," he says. “It was designed to be what you want it to be. But no one used it. I got some feedback from people that it was confusing to have so many things to choose from. (We would give the fireworks a flexibility mark for that.)

And as the four-note notes, his team's Team Player mark meets the need for versatility, while still being specific enough to be used.

  • Speed ​​Demon

  • Topic Matter Expert

  • Team Player

  • Speed ​​Demon

  • Subject Matter Expert [19659032] Team Player

It's Positive

For some an exercise like this will elicit the same obvious response when confidence drops or Zoom happy hours. The antidote to the simple, overly cool school skepticism? An anecdote like this, from a quadruped:

“I usually join the meeting about five minutes early. By far the most memorable moment was when someone I know and I have been working with for a while, walked a few minutes after me. It's just him and me. And I say, "How are you?" He's like, "Oh man, we just had a retro, and I made a big mistake. I went out on my own, I broke a lot of things and we had a lot of bugs from it. And the team was really mad at me and it was a really, really rough retro. & # 39; "

" I got to see the whole team's dynamics, basically complimenting each other – and then complimenting him and talking about, & # 39; you work really hard & & # 39 ;, or you write down many things & # 39; or & # 39; you pair with a lot of people. & # 39; At first he was really defensive and you saw in his body language that he could not take the compliments. you opened him up and saw that the team softened up. Having the appreciation retro shortly after a meeting that was very difficult for him was really positive – I could see the dynamics heal itself, which is really cool. "

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About Louis Wilson

Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide range d of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men's fashion and grooming and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unlimited passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children.

Read more by Louis Wilson

Our Editorial Policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and general well-being can be refreshingly easy.

Our Editorial Policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that is supported and wholly owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and your general well-being can be refreshingly easy. Haven Life does not support the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they suit your situation.

Haven Life does not have the right to provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to be provided and should not be relied upon for tax, legal or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our information

Haven Term is a term Life Insurance Insurance (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual. Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Life Insurance Issue (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by C.M. Life Insurance Companies, Enfield, CT 06082. Numbers and functions for insurance forms and riders may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best company as A ++ (Superior; top category 15). The rating is from Aril 1, 2020 and may change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating companies.

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