What made Pokémon GO... and not stop?

And four things businesses should learn from the hype

There’s a new app in town that, seemingly overnight, has turned otherwise regimented and work-obsessed adults into carefree children. It’s made them forget their schedules, risk their jobs, and abandon their cubicles to hunt little miro-esque creatures like a bunch of coked-out weasels. Pokémon GO, is based on the 1996 video game called Pokémon. The name is the truncated form of Poketto Monsuta, which translates to Pocket Monsters.

How did a handful of colorful monsters with strange names like Wartortle and Snorlax come to dominate our daily lives? More importantly to the business world, what made this hybrid of Google Maps and Game Boy not only go viral, but reduce other trends to mere droplets in Pokémon GO-cean? In some ways, not being a Pokémon GO-er can be far more ostracizing than not being interested in the presidential elections. Even if Pokémon isn’t your thing-- you have to marvel at its reach.

Some, such as McDonalds, immediately saw Pokémon GO’s potential. Since connecting some of its locations in Japan to Pokémon GO routes, their sales have risen by 5%. Others, have been quite literally trampled by the Pokémon catchers. And even Germany-- the beacon of efficiency and pragmatism--has fallen prey to the pokémons. In Düsseldorf, whole bridges (!) have shut down due to catcher congestion. The city has since gone so far as to create extra trolley routes to transport players on up to three hour journeys to catch some of the rarest Pokémon. Since its inception, Pokémon GO has not only lapped tinder, but caught more users in just a few weeks than many prominent social media apps, such as twitter, did in years. In short, Pokémon GO is well on its way to becoming the most sensationalized social media outlet of our time.

So what can entrepreneurs and organizations learn from the hype of Pokémon GO to boost the success of a new product or service? Afterall, any marketing expert would downright die to drum up even a fraction of Pokémon’s global attention. Here, we’ve extracted four business lessons from the app’s success:

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7 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement

In our last blog, we shared the findings of our research that explored the linkage between employee engagement, happiness, and performance. Generally, we found that that employee happiness and employee engagement were in fact correlated and that employees who reported low job satisfaction tended to be less productive. As employee engagement remains at all time lows, being able to engage your people could prove to be your organization's new competitive advantage.

Here, we share seven tips for companies to improve employee engagement.

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Is your Workforce happy? Harnessing the Power of Employee Engagement

Over the decades, management theorists and organizational psychologists alike have theorized a connection between employee engagement and business performance. With more research, results began to confirm a positive correlation between engagement and  performance (e.g., Judge et al., 2001; Harter et al., 2002). In other words, the results showed that individuals and business units which have higher employee engagement tend to outperform those whose level of enagement is low.

So if employee engagement and performance are so intricately linked, then executives everywhere must be rallying to make employee engagement a priority, right? Wrong. A recent Gallup poll shows that a whopping 87% of American employees report low engagement at work. Not only does this mean that the vast majority of us are unsatisfied, uninvolved, and apathetic about our jobs, it also suggests that overall performance could be taking an unnecessary hit. 

To further explore this trend of low engagement, we recently conducted a survey that asked 70 LinkedIn users, of various industries and seniority, how happy they were at work. Happiness, or satisfaction with one’s job, has been identified as a major componenet engagement (e.g., Harter et al., 2002). In order to examine the link between job satisfaction and performance, we also asked how many hours these employees spent actively working during an average workday. We also investigated some leading distractors in the workplace (e.g., social media, texting, chatting, etc) and recorded the age of our respondents. 

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Three reasons why you aren't being Promoted

Being passed up for a promotion that you've worked hard toward can be frustrating. It is even more frustrating when it happens more than once. The timing and sequence of your promotions have a big impact on your career trajectory. One single missed opportunity can set you back years. One attained opportunity, on the other hand, can give you an exponential advantage over your peers. Because of this, it is important to know how to make the most of your available promotion opportunities. Below we explore the three most common reasons why you may have been overlooked for a promotion.

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How Sales Success Stories can fail your team

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of  communication. Since the earliest days of civilization, storytelling has been employed in politics, business, and community structures. It has been used by families to  recount episodes of survival and triumph, comedy or tragedy, as well as to awaken our curiosity, teach, entertain, and inspire us. Storytelling is a very powerful device, so it is no surprise business managers use it to motivate and train employees--this is especially true for sales divisions, where stories are ubiquitous in sales engagements and among management. This kind of story telling often takes the form of the “Sales Success Story.”

As the name indicates, these stories usually recount sales engagement which result in a closed deal, new relationship, higher margin, or any form of productive success. When employed correctly, the sales success story can have a powerful impact on motivation and performance. However, when abused, it can really put a damper on sales outcomes. 

Unfortunately, few managers effectively harness the power of success stories. This is because, to a large extent, such stories are anachronous, fabricated, or both. When these stories are told in the wrong setting or include mistruths, they will fail to teach and inspire. This in turn decreases team morale and taints their perception of management. 

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