This month’s series of blogs have introduced the practice of employee recognition, its impact on individual and organizational performance, and ways that companies have recognized employees, both in practices that have stood the test of time (hello, employee of the month!), as well as new and innovative methods. Hopefully, no matter your status in an organization, you’re receiving recognition that is meaningful to you. And, it should also be meaningful for the person providing the recognition. We often look to managers to laud the achievements of their team, but have we stopped to think about what’s in it for them? We know the benefits reaped by the receiver, like a happier work environment, feeling of appreciation, and greater productivity. The benefits for the person giving the recognition, though, are equally compelling.
It feels fair to say that you’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard about the far-reaching benefits of practicing gratitude. Instead of giving recognition for recognition’s sake, employees who express appreciation and gratitude for their peers, direct reports, and managers (yes, recognition flows upwards, too!) can experience the positive outcomes as well. It has been well-documented that gratitude positively impacts physical and psychological health, including increasing feelings of happiness and reducing depression. Further, on an interpersonal front, people who make being grateful an intentional and regular practice experience greater feelings of empathy. That increased empathy can bond people together and help you establish meaningful relationships in the workplace, which go a long way in your personal and professional productivity and effectiveness.
Social Connection and Belonging.
Giving recognition supports the development and strengthening of interpersonal relationships, which at a higher level, boosts your social connection in the workplace. Building social connection engenders a sense of belonging, and seeking belonging is a powerful human instinct. Communities are born out of a collective sense of belonging and social connection, and what is a workplace if not a community? When you acknowledge the contributions of others, it communicates that what a person has offered is personally meaningful to you. While it may seem more apparent that someone receiving praise would have positive feelings toward to the person doling it out, the reverse is also true. When you express appreciation and gratitude to someone, you build upon the positive feelings and connectedness you experience with them.
Finally, the expression of gratitude and experience of empathy, social connection, and belonging all lead to fostering trust. In the workplace, as in many other contexts, distrust breeds dysfunction. It is a critical element to forming and maintaining productive, functional, and mutually fulfilling relationships with others. Some of the most important factors that dictate an employee’s work experience and performance are rooted in trust, such as the relationship with a supervisor, integration into the organizational culture, and finding meaning in one’s work. By virtue of expressing appreciation for someone, you are demonstrating care and respect for them, and reinforcing the experience of trust.
So, the next time you take a moment to recognize the accomplishments or contributions of others, take a moment to enjoy it for yourself too!