Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Psychology of Gratitude and Recognition

Greetings from 678 Partners!

A few days ago, I posted some interesting data about the bottom line impact that formal recognition programs contribute.  Today's post is about the "warm fuzzy" and somewhat immeasurable impact of recognition at the workplace.

The 2008 Global Recognition Study conducted by Towers Perrin covers the tangible and intangible impacts of employee recognition.  The two white papers on the study were published (here and here) earlier this year.  I encourage taking the time to read both.  The basic premise covered three elements that managers must incorporate into their daily behaviors (Inclusion, Communication and Trust) to engender and improve employee engagement.

The figure below is an illustration of the positive impact of unexpected recognition.  The study uncovered research by social scientists and neuroscientists that showed that more formal recognition excited employee loyalty -- which is perhaps to be expected.  Unexpected tokens of appreciation, or what I like to call the "just because" factor, make employee performance and loyalty skyrocket thereby creating this nifty continuous loop.  

To be clear: this is not to encourage everyone to go into Thank You Overdrive.  If we overthank, we lose some of the sincerity of a well meant and well deserved thank you.  It's just food for thought for us as peers, managers, cross functional team leaders or what have you.  A little can go a long way when creating a high performance team.

Now what about more negative experiences?  Someone recently told me a work environment where consistently high performers were given less than average performance reviews.  It seems that because they always perform at their maximum capability, they are pushed to do more instead of rewarded for their feats.  In the next post, I'll flesh this further.

As always, please email me with any comments or feedback.  I look forward to hearing from you!


No comments:

Post a Comment