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Effective employee recognition builds a social system for organisational “common good”.
Australians have a tendency towards hero worship for achievers, particularly those in the sporting arena locally and internationally. We admire the achievements of our prominent social and cultural icons. Awards are given in many industries for the top performer of the year. We put our “stars” in the spotlight.
However, it’s often lonely at the top.
We often long for a sense of community. We want to belong and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves! How else can you explain the fact that more than 800 million people have a Facebook page and some 175 million workers are on LinkedIn? Social media and networking are a means for people to make a connection: to share, showcase, commiserate, celebrate, be a part of a community and know that we matter. In short: to find that basic human need to be recognised.
Most workers spend half or more of their waking hours, during the week, at work. Their co-workers become an important part of their lives and often are the foundation of their social interaction. The workplace is an important community that many workers take pride in and want to know they are a part of. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review: “Community means caring about our work, our colleagues and our place in the world, geographic and otherwise, and in turn being inspired by this caring.” The article points out that some of the most successful companies have created a sense of community where common ground takes precedence over individual accomplishments.
Community requires interaction among all its members regardless of their “hierarchal place.” Most members want to be recognised for their contributions, large and small. They want to know they are valued and that they matter in the important community of their workplace. They want to be part of a successful entity, a winning team and a respected organisation. Making this happen is what formal and informal recognition is all about.
Here are 10 ways your company can build community within the organisation:
John O’Brien is vice-president of the Employee Performance Group at BI WORLDWIDE.