How recognition can impact employees’ work relationships
It’s human nature to feel the need to belong, to want to connect with others and to build and nurture positive relationships with those around us. Of course, this is no different when we’re at work. Workplace relationships and social wellbeing can have a major impact on employees’ stress levels, productivity and overall happiness, and this has been proven by research. For example, a 2017 Gallup survey found that close work friendships boosted employee satisfaction by 50 per cent. We all see it first-hand – employees that get on with each other are generally happier at work.
With flexible and remote working more in demand and therefore more commonplace in businesses, it can be harder for employees to build good relationships with their colleagues. At the same time, employees may work in different locations, divisions and departments so might not have direct lines of communication with their colleagues elsewhere. There is a danger of employees feeling lonely and disconnected which is not only unhealthy for business performance, but it can be a real problem for employees’ social wellbeing. It’s therefore important for businesses to encourage employees to build interpersonal relationships to adequately support social wellbeing.
So, how do we tackle this?
One way is through recognition – by fostering a culture that encourages employees to appreciate each other, interact and celebrate achievements across the business.
Humanise your culture
The corporate environment can often be highly automated, fast-paced and leave employees feeling stressed, isolated and disconnected from their peers. Recognition can be used as a powerful tool to cut through this pressurised environment of performance by encouraging employees to actively express their gratitude towards colleagues, creating a more “human” culture.
While it might seem insignificant, human emotion is an important element to capture in the workplace – it can even be transformative. Employees want to feel like they have a meaningful impact in their role and towards their colleagues. They want to feel like they belong to a business that values its people. A recognition scheme or programme helps to create a workplace environment that places a stronger focus on interpersonal relationships and embeds a workplace culture that is built around the people rather than being solely focused on productivity and output.
As we always say, “it’s all about the people”. Whether it’s for reaching an important milestone in their employment, providing a helping hand, or hitting a particular target, when employees are provided with a vehicle to consistently recognise each other, workplace culture is far more personal and people-centric which in turn supports social wellbeing.
Bring people together
With deadlines, targets and KPIs to be met all the time, it can be easy for employees to forget that they’re working together towards a common goal. This may cause conflict, competition, but most importantly, it can have a negative impact on employees’ social wellbeing. But, when a recognition programme is in place, employees are reminded of the great work going on across the business and how their actions and contributions form part of a wider effort.
All of this creates a sense of community, camaraderie and can help to build stronger working relationships, even friendships. For example, if an employee recognises a colleague from a different department or location, it could open up a better line of communication, strengthen their existing working relationship and improve the social wellbeing of both employees.
At the same time, recognition can also help improve the relationships between leadership and the rest of the workforce. If an entry-level employee gets a “thank you” from the Managing Director, for example, it may help to eliminate a perceived division between the two because there has been direct communication that may not have happened if a recognition programme wasn’t in place.
With improved communication comes greater cohesion, and with that a stronger, happier workplace culture. Recognition is a powerful way of bringing employees together which will undoubtedly support social wellbeing across the business.
Make people feel good
One final point to make about recognition, is the fact that it makes employees feel good. As mentioned before, we all like to feel valued by our peers and that we belong in our working environment. So, when employees actually get commendation and advocacy from their colleagues, they are reassured that their colleagues respect them, appreciate them and like them, which provides a valuable boost to their social wellbeing, as well as their morale and self-esteem.
When delivered using an interactive company sponsored platform, recognition is even more powerful because not only is it easier for employees to deliver their ‘thank yous’, but every display of recognition is visible across the business, providing a vehicle to celebrate achievements.