Recognition as an Engagement Driver
People in large organizations that champion the importance of building cultures of recognition, typically do so because there is compelling evidence (Gallup, Towers Watson, World at Work, etc.) that recognition is a key driver of employee engagement, which drives customer experience, which drives profits. Highly engaged companies are more profitable then low engagement companies. In essence, there is a business case for recognition, and we have seen with our own clients that implementing a strategic, technology based recognition system has absolutely had a positive impact on both engagement scores and business metrics
Recognition as a Cultural Driver
When done right, a recognition system can help build an organization’s desired culture. That’s because the reasons for recognition should always be tied back to that organization’s core values – so that they become more than words on the lobby wall. Even more importantly, managers need to be trained to use the right language when recognizing their associates, tying the recognized behavior back to the mission of the organization. In addition to building the culture, this approach also helps employees grasp the greater meaning and value of what they are doing every day. They are tied to something important.
Recognition as Something Transcendent
But there is one additional reason why it is so important to build a culture where people appreciate each other frequently. . .that is because we are hard wired to derive happiness from both giving and receiving appreciation. I know from attending recognition ceremonies that there can be powerful emotions in both presenters, and the recipients of recognition, who are singled out for their outstanding actions or achievements. In my gut, I have sensed that despite the fact that so few companies try to universalize recognition, it is nonetheless something deeply needed and above being wired into our DNA, it is something transcendent.
Appreciation is a Holy Thing
Recently, I stumbled upon this quote: “I believe that appreciation is a holy thing – that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.” That is from none other than Fred “Mr.” Rogers. Nowhere have I seen written so perfectly, what my instincts have been telling me for over twenty years in this business. It is the workplace version of “Treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated.”
So those of you who champion recognition, rest assured that yes, it does lead to better employee engagement, it does integrate people with your desired culture, and it does have a positive impact on business metrics.
But I’d argue that in addition, your recognition system will be doing something even more critical; something that reaches deep into people’s longing to align, connect and be appreciated. . .something holy.
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