Season of Thanksgiving: Building a Recognition-Rich Culture in the Workplace

Nov 24, 2015

Season of Thanksgiving

This time of year serves as a good reminder for being thankful for what we have. Personally, family and friends often come to mind, but what about professionally? Are you thankful for your job? Is your organization thankful for you? Businesses that regularly give thanks to their employees far outperform those that do not. It makes sense—people like being recognized for their hard work and dedication. Today's employees want to be acknowledged for successes affecting the company and are more inclined to drive results when their work is celebrated.

According to the June 13, 2012, Forbes article titled New Research Unlocks the Secret of Employee Recognition, by Josh Bersin, companies that scored in the top 20 percent for building a 'recognition-rich culture' actually had 31-percent lower voluntary turnover rates! Recognition psychologically and physiologically makes us feel good as humans, and when we are recognized at work, we are more inclined to stay with the organization. In Maslow's infamous hierarchy of needs, two of the most valuable psychological needs are to be appreciated and to belong. These needs are met in the workplace through employee recognition. When we feel appreciated, our bodies create oxytocin, often dubbed the love hormone or the hug hormone. Employees who work under the influence of oxytocin actually perform better in the workplace.

Consider the opposite. If someone works tirelessly on a project that goes unrecognized, why should he or she put forth as much effort in the future? When hard work goes invalidated, it is human nature to avoid working as hard again. In the workplace, unrecognized accomplishments are extremely detrimental when it comes to employee engagement, employee performance, and even organizational performance. When management fails to recognize the contributions of others, they are not respected or seen as team players. This affects their ability to retain top performers and to recruit great talent in the future, and future results remain unsecured due to demotivated teams.

How should companies recognize their employees? A simple thank you never hurts, but establishing employee recognition programs is very effective for most organizations. How do your employees want to be recognized? What is meaningful criteria for recognition? These are questions organizations need to consider.

  • Invest in the professional development of employees. Offer to fund a professional development course for the employee or even provide tuition reimbursement. This shows employees that the employer-employee relationship is mutual. The company supports employees and cares enough to help boost their professional value.
  • Tie recognition to company values and goals. Celebrate people who embody one of the company's core values or strategies. Explain how the employee is an asset to the company in achieving its vision and find a way to convey that message to the rest of the team to encourage similar behavior.
  • Implement peer-to-peer recognition. Employees feel much better when they are recognized by their peers because the people who see them on a day-to-day basis know exactly what and how they contribute to the organization. Research has shown that being recognized by coworkers is more meaningful than by being recognized by upper management.

When companies embrace employee recognition and people start thanking each other, everyone feels inspired to put forth more effort in their work, trust and engagement increase, employee morale improves, employee turnover decreases, and employee and organizational performance increases. With so many positive benefits, why would organizations not say thank you to their employees?

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

© 2004-2018 ZERORISK HR, Inc. All rights reserved.


Social Media