The key elements of a great company culture

Workplace cultures that help people thrive begin with employee recognition

The key elements of a great company culture

Workplace cultures that help people thrive begin with employee recognition. When done right, recognition will improve the quantity and quality of peak experiences at work – experiences that help people reach higher, accomplish more and want to stay. Research has discovered that employees are five times more likely to stay at their organizations if their managers are regularly acknowledging them for their good work.

“Recognition is a moment, and the purpose of a recognition moment is to cause someone to feel appreciated for something they’ve done,” says Kevin Ames, Director, O.C. Tanner Institute. “We’ve never found anything else … as catalytic as people feeling deeply appreciated – when they feel appreciated, recognized for who they are, what they’re doing, and that contribution over time and the loyalty to the company – that’s what causes engagement more than anything else.”

Employee recognition can be done in various ways. One way is showing appreciation by recognizing and expressing gratitude for extra effort, great work, and accomplishments. This type of recognition fuels positive momentum and helps employees feel that they are part of a winning team. Organizational leaders can do this as many times as they want as long as it’s authentic.

“Anything that’s fake is not going to work, but authentic feedback is going to make a difference there,” Ames says.

When employees have a more significant achievement, leaders should pause and reward them. Ames suggests that a celebration be held and a symbol that represents their contributions be given to them. For instance, if they have been part of the organization for 10 years, yearbooks can be used as a symbol. This type of recognition fosters a sense of belonging, helping employees see how they fit into the organization.

“We actually encourage people to develop some of their own ways – and that can be a simple word, that can be a written card, that can be an e-card on the program inside the organization or other ways,” Ames notes. “It’s really your freedom to craft your own – [there are] hundreds of ways to do it. The key is, “Is it causing the person to feel appreciated?”

Aside from employee recognition and appreciation, there are five other key elements to creating highly successful company cultures, which are called “Talent Magnets”: leadership, connecting people to purpose, a sense of opportunity, a sense of well-being, and success.

“As an organization, you get to determine what culture you will have. You’re going to have a culture one way or the other; the question is, “Do you have the one you want?” And you have to craft that, you have to design that and then you have to execute around the principles that create that kind of culture. And if you don’t own that and do that, you’re going have a random culture that’s created by the people inside the company that typically won’t be very good overall,” Ames concludes.

To help organizational leaders create a successful, authentic company culture, O.C. Tanner Institute will be hosting a free webinar on June 12 at 11 AM (ET). For more information on the webinar, HR professionals can register here.

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