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Read time8 mins

The benefits of employee recognition to your organisation

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The benefits of employee recognition to your organisation

Why should organisations care about employee recognition?

Discover the transformative impact of employee recognition on your workplace.

Learn how recognition fuels motivation, enhances performance, and fosters a positive work environment.

Understand the role of reinforcement theory, goal achievement strategies, and the importance of open goals in driving productivity.

Equip yourself with practical insights to help you build a culture of recognition that empowers your team to thrive.

How recognising employees drives business performance

Watch the video to understand how recognising your employees directly impacts performance and helps your organisation achieve its goals.

Step 3 - The most effective forms of employee recognition

Step 1 - The psychological impact of employee recognition

If you know of anyone who would benefit from this video, please share it with them.

Video transcript

Hi, Andrew from SACS, and welcome to video number two in our five video sequence on optimum performance recognition.

In this sequence, we’re trying to bring you the latest information about what works best in the area of performance recognition.

In the last video, we covered the question of why people need recognition.

This video is about the business case.

In other words, what does the organisation get out of recognition?

Then we’ll go on to forms of recognition, leadership skills for recognition and facilitative leadership to build a recognition program.

The benefits of employee recognition

So the benefits of employee recognition are manifold in organisations.

Firstly, it’s an essential component of motivation.

If you want people to be highly motivated, you’re going to have to provide them with recognition to underpin that.

Secondly, it reinforces performance improvement.

And interestingly, on average, across a whole bunch of studies, meta-analyses have been undertaken in this area, which is where you combine a range of studies from across the world and about 17% improvement just by catching people doing something right, just by finding an opportunity to recognise their performance.

And 17% performance improvement, who wouldn’t want that?

Recognition and mental health

And it’s also pivotal to workplace mental health.

In other words, when you have high levels of recognition, you have higher levels of mental health, i.e., less anxiety, less depression, greater levels of morale and wellbeing in amongst that workplace.

Positive and negative reinforcement

Now, there’s a way of looking at recognition, which is called reinforcement theory.

So the idea of this is that you get what you reinforce.

And reinforcements can be positive, such as giving people positive recognition for having done something good.

That’s positive reinforcement.

But there’s also negative reinforcement where, in effect, you take away something that’s negative.

And the example in the Luthans and Stajkovic article is where if you find somebody doing a really good job, you can positively reinforce them by saying, yes, you’ve done a great job.

But you can also negatively reinforce them by stopping micromanaging them, by allowing them more freedom, by causing them to understand more that they have freedom to make their own decisions.

So positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement would certainly lead to behaviour change.

Employee recognition supports goals

And recognition incentivises goal achievement.

Now, this is shown from a range of articles, Brun and Dugas, Long and Shields.

But also, I want to talk a little bit about goal theory in its relationship to recognition.

Now, two researchers by the name of Locke and Latham undertook something like 30 years of research into goals to identify what type of goals work.

And they were contributors to this idea of SMART goals, specific, measurable, aligned, realistic, time and resource-defined goals.

In other words, goals where we’ve shared a concept about what needs to be achieved by when.

And we’ve been really specific.

And what they demonstrated is that human beings respond well to that.

But if you combine goal theory with recognition theory and when a person achieves their goals, you then give them the recognition that’s necessary and the forms of recognition that are available will be dealt with later in this video sequence.

But if you give them good recognition, the probability of them achieving those goals is increased.

And obviously, that’s a fantastic thing for the organisation and for them.

Types of workplace goals

So there are a range of categories of goals that you might pursue in any organisation.

So the “”what”” of the job is things, like work execution goals and objectives.

So the volume of work, the quality of work, innovation, those sorts of things, the what of the job.

And then there’s the “”how”” of the job.

And the how of the job is the professionalism and style that the person undertakes the job with.

And that might relate to the approach to their own job, the behaviours that they demonstrate in doing their job, their approach to their colleagues, how they behave towards their colleagues, how supportive they are, their approach to the organisation or perhaps to external stakeholders like customers.

So those are how goals.

Now, a good job is where people do the what and the how with equal facility.

Recognition can help to achieve this.

Good levels of recognition can motivate people to do the what and the how.

And I think that good performance development processes should recognise not just the what, the goal attainment of how people tackle their jobs, but also the way that they tackle their jobs, the behaviours that they demonstrate because that’s really what adds up to sustainable performance, isn’t it?

Not just achieving the goals but achieving them with the right behaviours so that people respond favourably to the person and the reputation of the organisation increases.

There are other goals that should be dealt with in performance conversations.

And these are things like learning and development goals.

What’s to be learned and by when and what sort of behaviour change that might result from that.

And career development goals, which is to say does this person want to progress their career?

Now, we know that there are good employees who are quite happy doing what they’re doing but there are other good employees who are really ambitious.

So if in your development plan, you’ve got work, achievement goals, you’ve got style and professionalism goals, you’ve got learning goals and you’ve got career development goals, then in effect, you’ve got the whole package.

But employee recognition helps in the attainment of all of these.

The importance of open goals

A really interesting concept in the world of goal theory is a thing called open goals.

Open goals are goals that are pursued in an exploratory sense.

Let’s see how many steps I can do today.

And that’s quite different from the Locke and Latham idea of hard goals, I want to walk 10,000 steps every day.

So open goals have been found to be extremely motivational in certain circumstances.

This is a very interesting development in the world of goal theory.

The Locke and Latham concept of hard goals has kind of been the golden rule for many years.

And by the way, it still works really, really well.

But it’s been discovered that open goals can be much more effective in certain areas, particularly things like health development.

Now, what we don’t know so much is how this works in the work world.

So instead of having a hard goal that you must get a certain amount of stuff done by next Tuesday, what about why don’t we explore to see how many of these things we can get done?

Because certainly, in some areas of human life, it’s already been well demonstrated that open goals work better than closed goals.

Now, open goals do provide an opportunity for recognition.

And if you’ve got a closed goal and you haven’t achieved your closed goal, of course, the tendency is to say, well, okay, well, we didn’t achieve that goal.

How can we do it better next time?

But with an open goal, one of the things that we can do is say, all right, well, we did better than we’ve ever done before.

That’s great.

Congratulations to everybody.

Let’s keep trying.

Now, I think this is a really interesting area of goal research, and there’s going to be more research about applying this concept of open goals to the world of work because in general, the world of work is pretty wedded to closed goals.

But if you can bring that extra productivity that’s been demonstrated from open goals in other areas, how about applying that to work?

And certainly, we’re trying to put that on our own research agenda over the next two years.

Staff recognition has significant benefits

So the purpose of this video was to demonstrate that recognition can be a very significant benefit to the organisation.

It helps the organisation achieve its goals, which is a wonderful thing.

The next video will be about forms of recognition.

What are the means by which we can recognise other people to ensure that we get the productivity and wellbeing that we’re looking for?

Create an effective employee recognition program

Step 3 - The most effective forms of employee recognition

Step 1 - The psychological impact of employee recognition

If you’d like some help with creating an effective employee recognition program, based on your workplace and staff, contact us about our Employee Engagement and Wellbeing surveys.

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