Employee Recognition. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room valtech_fr


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An elephant sized award

Green Goldfish #916 – Valtech Software

According to Wellsphere, Valtech Software circulates a stuffed elephant for co-workers who are positive in attitude or action.

valtech software green goldfish

The program was developed by developer Michael Poulsen. Poulsen volunteered to be Chief Happiness Officer and this was his first initiative. Here is how he presented it to the team:

I’m happy to be able to introduce Valtechs first Happiness@Work initiative: The Valtech Order of the Elephant.

To bring all the good things we do for each other out in the light.

How it works:
The elephant is passed on from co-worker to co-worker on a weekly basis, with a reason why it is passed to that person in particular.

The reason for passing the elephant on to a new co-worker is up to you. Maybe someone helped you move apartment, fix a bug in your code or just have a positive impact on your day by always being happy and smiling.

Ground rules for elephant care:

– An elephant is given to a co-worker for a good reason (i.e., having a good attitude or doing something helpful).

– The recipient must be told why he/she has been awarded the elephant.

– The elephant can only be kept for one week, and it must be displayed for all to see.

– Someone is in charge of the overall elephant tracking.


Valtech’s “Order of the Elephant” award was named after one of Denmark’s long-standing and most prestigious honors for its royalty and heads of state. Historically a symbol of strength and wealth in the country, the elephant is actually also big on happiness. When reconnecting with an absent group member, these mammals have been known to offer a joyous welcome by spinning their bodies, flapping their ears, and trumpeting like there’s no tomorrow. (Source: Delivering Happiness)

The Muse

Michael was inspired to create this program by Danish pioneer in happiness at work Alexander Kjerulf (pronounced care-oolf). Kjerulf is the author of the best seller, “Happy Hour is 9 to 5.” He believes happiness at work is based on two things: results and personal relations.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here is a fun mental game that’s relevant to this post: Here we go. Let me see if I can read your mind:

imgres-2Think of a number between 2 and 10. Got it? OK, take that number and multiply it by 9. Now you should have a two digit number. Add those two digits together and you should have a one digit number. Now take that one digit number and subtract it by 5. Now if A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on, you should have a letter that corresponds with your number. Now think of a country that begins with that letter. Got the country? Now take the second letter of the country you selected and think of an animal that begins with that letter. Now think of a common color of that animal. Got it?”

Answer below:



I’m sorry, but there are No Gray Elephants in Denmark (except maybe the stuffed ones at Valtech Software)

Here’s a How To YouTube video showing how the trick works:

The example in the post was taken from the Green Goldfish Project. The Project is a quest to find 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe for employees. Green goldfish are the little signature extras given to employees. They help differentiate a company, reinforce culture, increase retention and drive positive WoM. The book, “What’s Your Green Goldfish?” will be published on March 29, 2013.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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