SVP strategy and consulting Workhuman
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Harnessing the power of recognition

20th May 2020
SVP strategy and consulting Workhuman
Blogger
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Creating an open and employee-friendly workplace is a priority for many organisations in today’s competitive jobs market. Companies have recognised that salaries and bonuses aren’t all things to all people, and younger generations in particular are looking for work that gives them a sense of purpose and a workplace that truly values their contributions. To meet these new expectations, one method that has gained significant traction in transforming company culture is the practice of recognition.

When people are recognised and appreciated for the work they do, not only do they feel that they really belong at their company, but they also learn to pass on this recognition and gratitude to others around them. This strengthens the bonds between team members and departments, resulting in improved engagement, productivity, and retention, and gives employees a stronger sense of self-belief and purpose in the work they are doing, transforming the workplace culture entirely.

Companies who can make recognition a true practice in their workplace – by introducing a social recognition platform for example – and harness the data it produces can improve the employee experience and strengthen the organisation even further.

Recognition sheds light on performance

It is the job of a manager to keep an eye on employees, guiding them in their career path and checking in from time to time on their progress. This is often more easily said than done. There are meetings to attend and their own work to complete, on top of managing their team. If they have a big team to oversee, it can often seem like an insurmountable task to keep track of everyone’s performance.

What’s more, research has shown that yearly check-ins are not as effective nor as commonplace as they once were, with Workhuman finding that 55% of workers say annual reviews don’t improve their performance. Employees would rather – and expect – to have a continuous level of engagement and feedback from their managers on how they are doing in their role.

Using the data from a recognition platform can help alleviate this burden significantly, storing all the information in one place and tracking an employee’s progress through the peer-to-peer recognition they are receiving. Instead of having to rifle through notes and emails to see where an employee’s performance might have ebbed or spiked, a recognition platform can track all of this and provide a real-time employee performance review.

Knowing which core company beliefs are being valued the most

Company values are the pillars which support everything a company does. Over the years, it has become essential for many employees to feel like their personal values align with that of the company they work for. Indeed, recent Workhuman research revealed that employees who have a sense of meaning and purpose are more than four times as likely to love their job.

Employees who love their job will be those who are the most engaged at work and those who are more likely to feel connected to their colleagues and company. Encouraging this engagement by linking company values to reward activity will reinforce desired behaviour, and provide a huge amount of valuable recognition programme data. Such data can show which values employees are choosing to recognise each other for, and identify whether these values match with company mission and purpose.

Improving diversity and inclusion

Recognition data can also help leadership teams to better understand the state of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in their organisation. For example, because everyone has unique ways of communicating, it’s possible to get insights into unconscious bias by looking at how people write and talk to one another within an employee recognition programme. By analysing their words, patterns will appear that can illuminate a company’s impartiality and also indicate where there is room for improvement.

For example, Workhuman observed that women receive awards for teamwork one and a half times more often than other award types than men do. However, it was also discovered that they were receiving about 12% less in value, including from other women. This is just one kind of unconscious bias that can be uncovered in recognition data, and having more insight into D&I data allows companies to strengthen empathy across the entire organisation, amplify employee voices, and highlight where bias can be overcome.

Recognition: helping companies succeed

The importance of recognition in a company’s longevity is not to be underestimated. For instance, as a company, LinkedIn saw a 95% retention rate for all employees who were recognised and received four or more awards annually. Knowing how to use the data that these types of recognition programmes produce is key to showing companies the true inner workplace culture that their employees inhabit and mould. Having this information is vital for leaders who want their organisations to succeed in this new world of business.

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