Is employee recognition the enabler of employee belonging?

HR needs to start tracking recognition to help bolster company-wide connection

Is employee recognition the enabler of employee belonging?

Employee recognition seems like a simple concept that goes without saying. Humans are hardwired to receive recognition; we’ve evolved to want to be thanked, an evolution of wanting to be liked. Our brain physically can’t help but be appreciative of somebody taking the time to say thanks. Could this chemical reaction in our brains be the hidden enabler of employee belonging?

“We’ve often used the line that technically as a business we shouldn’t exist because ultimately what we do is just help people do what you think they’d want to do,” said Mark Barling, RVP Sales Achievers APAC, at Achievers.

Read more: Employee recognition: An organisational imperative

“The challenge is there’s quite often barriers that prevent recognition from happening,” Barling continued, “there’s so many barriers that’re in place that don’t allow recognition to be embedded within the cultural fabric of an organisation.”

The research arm of Achievers, the Achievers Workforce Institute, has uncovered that the concept of belonging is becoming a much more critical place for employees. Barling isn’t saying that employee recognition doesn’t currently exist in organisations, of course it happens every day – your boss says thanks, great job, ripper mate, all the time.

“The challenge,” said Barling, “is the rest of the organisation doesn’t see it, so you’re not aligning the thanks to a value, therefore you can’t track it. So, when you ask the question, are people living our values, you don’t know the answer. You’re just guessing.”

The Achievers platform is a mechanism for the capturing those moments. It takes what was once qualitative action and turns it into quantitative data by tracking the moments and applying them to key organisational pillars. This gives leaders a demonstrable body of evidence that correlates and causes positive business outcomes. 

Read more: Five magic steps to employee recognition success

The results of Achievers software speak for themselves, family-favourite brand Kellogg’s saw a 15% reduction in voluntary turnover, a telecommunications company saw a two percent lift in their engagement scores, a retailer had a 21% lift in average basket size at till in its stores that had more frequent moments of recognition than its stores that didn’t.

“The nature of what we do is to create programs that have a material impact on business outcomes, Barling told HRD. “That’s the power of what we can now do.”

One Achievers client had 1.2 million moments of recognition last year alone. That’s 1.2 million ways in which their employees have tried to articulate in the behaviours of others how they’re living the values of the organisation. That’s a lot of valuable data.

“These are tangible outcomes that drive bottom line results and that’s the stuff that recognition can do,” said Barling.

“Having a recognition program in place, all of a sudden those moments that’re captured are aligned to values that enable an organisation to reflect back and go wow, our people are living our values incredibly well. But my god no one’s living innovation and we’ve not brought any good products to market in the last twelve months, I wonder if there’s a correlation there.”

During the webinar, Dr Natalie Baumgartner, one of the world’s leading researchers of employee science will give background and key insights from the research, and Achievers client service manager Emma Harvey will show that this isn’t research driven hypotheticals by sharing real-world examples of how Achiever’s customers are using recognition to meet the pillars of the model.

Register for the Achievers webinar here.

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