Recognise This! – Customers are a font of knowledge just waiting to be tapped.

Last week I had the pleasure of joining colleagues and customers at Globoforce’s annual customer forum, Engage. We’re very particular about defining it as a customer forum and not a customer conference. The intent every year is to bring customers together so they can share directly their own experiences, learnings, approaches and best practices with each other in a forum which we facilitate.

This year was no exception with a terrific panel of customers representing a range of industries including high-tech, energy, insurance, finance, manufacturing, construction engineering and travel. It is always thrilling and very informative for me to hear our customers directly sharing their experience from their unique industry perspective, then hearing others chime in with their own direct questions. Is there any better way to learn and grow than from your own peers?

As always, we also shared potential future direction for our products and services, inviting our customers to share their input and vote on their preferences. This is tremendous insight for us as we are always pushing the industry forward with new innovations in employee recognition and appreciation, and in-practice use and preferences from thought-leading clients is very important perspective to have.

Aside from the time with customers I’ve grown to know as friends over the years, one of the highlights of Engage 2014 for me was my first-ever S’more (graham cracker, chocolate and melted marshmallow goodness, for others not in the know). One of our evening events in Scottsdale, Arizona, was a hoe-down party, complete with campfire and S’mores. Our international clients (and my fellow Irish Globoforce employees) got to experience the deliciousness of S’mores for the first time. When asked if campfires and S’mores weren’t a tradition in Ireland, too, my CEO replied, “Well, with all the rain, campfires tend to do little more than smolder in Ireland…”

And this is but one example of the joy of working in a globally distributed organisation – sharing local traditions with those of a different cultural background or expectation. Similarly, our Irish-based employees enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner along with our American contingent, while our American employees celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us in Ireland.

Think for a moment:  What traditions are common in your department, local office or primary country? How can those be shared with those in other locations to create a stronger sense of unity across borders and boundaries?