Colin Powell, a famous American statesman and author once famously said, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.’ And the first step towards inculcating an optimism driven outlook is to have a positive mindset. Extending this approach to the corporate work environment, a culture of positive affirmation is the prime requirement and its benefits particularly during periods of development, are researched and proven to trigger motivation as well as commitment. This has universal applicability - from our personal life as friend, student, spouse or child to the professional world as an employee, manager, peer or reportee in the organisation.
Employee recognition is no longer an HR program in the organisation. Today, as the war to retain talent escalates, an organisation’s focus to value their employees has become much more important than ever. It is more about creating an experience and making them feel valued and relevant rather than just rewarding by means of available standard tools like quarterly all hands meet, giving hard cash and so on.
A culture of recognition promotes not just exemplary contribution but also gives due respect and recognition to the contribution, support and collaboration during the journey. It encourages an environment of mutual trust, respect and recognition for not only the end but the means too.
While it is important to have the culture of recognition aligning with the values of the company, it is equally important to constantly re-evaluate the ways to reward and recognise people. Great companies make this an annual charter to continuously revisit and enhance the employee recognition experience. This also helps in realigning with changing needs of both people and the market.
While there is no universal program on the culture of recognition, initiatives focused around enabling people’s happiness and wellbeing have the potential to bring in the best amongst the employees. organisations who have successfully sustained higher employee satisfaction, do not have to take extraordinary measures. They earn employee trust by taking initiatives that are simple and focused on providing a feeling of belongingness.
Following are some of the best practices that organisations globally have implementing towards enhancing feeling of belongingness
Expressing gratitude helps people empathize and care for others. This is an important element to promote collaboration and encourage people to appreciate others. Given the importance, organisations have initiated effective practices on expressing gratitude. A popular practice in this regard is creating a platform or engagement channel where employees share their written note with an anecdote which helps them realize the importance of gratitude in their personal or professional life.
Recognition is not always for performance; the longevity by staying in the organisation is also a reflection of loyalty and commitment of people towards the organisation. And this is truly worth recognising. Just like birthdays and anniversaries, organisations have introduced new concepts to celebrate employee association and personnel milestones such as their birthday, childbirth, marriage etc. It is referred to as ‘Celebrating Milestones’ that focuses on personalized recognition of each employee. Collating pictures & videos of an employee’s journey, sharing video with best wishes from colleagues on an employee’s personal milestone, sending chocolates and greeting cards on their birthday are few of the popular illustrations related to ‘Celebrating Milestone’.
Recognition comes in many shapes and sizes
Research indicates that people are motivated by more than just cold hard cash. Everyone has their own preference or style when it comes to giving and receiving appreciation. Considering this, organisations have moved away from the cash reward in salary to a platform which provides multiple options including experiences that allow employees to decide and choose against the allocated reward points.
People who matter beyond work
Under the WFH mode, other than employee wellbeing, a key factor that has played a critical role in ensuring optimum productivity at an employee's place is the extended support they get from their immediate family members. These family members are indirectly playing a critical role in assisting organisations serve their client’s better. Without the understanding, support, encouragement, and cooperation of family members, it would be challenging for an employee to deliver their best. Understanding the importance of family support, organisations have initiated practices of leadership sharing personalized gratitude notes to the family members. This commitment and participation by leadership assists strengthen the bond between leaders and people.
According to a recent Gallup State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of the global workforce is currently disengaged in their work. Being unhappy impacts any organisation’s productivity. Hence in conclusion it is important that organisation’s focus should move beyond appreciations related to performance. It should also accommodate aspects like caring, kindness, integrity and helping others. As it is a known fact that simple, genuine expressions of thankfulness inspire employees to do their best.
This article was first published in May 2021.