Cultures of Appreciation Require Training The “Giver”

At the Workhuman Conference, SVP, Derek Irvine shared an incredible stat. When asked “what is the one thing you would change in your organization’s culture,” data from their recognition software stated:

Foster A Culture of Appreciation.

Of course, it is. Cynics may say, well the data is from participants using a recognition software. Although at times I can be cynical, from my experience in corporate America this isn’t surprising. I had a CEO that in 7 years, gave me thanks twice. He wrote me a note, which was great. But twice in 7 years is not acceptable on any level.

And it hurt. More importantly, it left me at a loss if I was competent in my job. The good news is I did receive thanks regularly from peers, employees and my team. I felt validated and competentin spite of his, frankly, selfish behavior.

What does surprises me is that is we still don’t hold leaders accountable to for neglecting, even in small ways, to incorporate thanks or gratitude into their practice.

But, the truth is, when discussing gratitude, the “giver” isn’t focused on. Eric Mosely, CEO of Workhuman said, we often talk more about the people asking for more gratitude. But the act of giving is more profound than the act of receiving. Think about that. People who give recognition, for just a few minutes are viscerally changed. They are out of their own egos and are uplifted just as the receiver is.

Givers, here is some food for thought based my experience and some Workhuman stats:

  1. It does take focus. You have to be intentional. In the workplace we have so many things that divert our attention, it’s easy to forget. Find someone to train you and to hold you accountable to master this skill.
  2. When you give gratitude or thanks, be specific. Since it reinforces a specific behavior, It’s more powerful and remembered longer.
  3. Change your mindset about money. Rewarding employees with money gives them about a 3-4 week lift in engagement. Not bad. But there are 52 weeks in a year. If you only give a “raise” once a year, this won’t cut it.
  4. Giving recognition is 8x more powerful than salary increases when it comes to improving engagement. That’s a great ROI. If you don’t relate to “squishy” stuff” you likely relate to numbers. You wouldn’t ignore that ROI in sales or finance – why in people management?

So, Givers, if you need a “what’s in it for me”, know there is a lot in it for you. A more engaged team, better work results, and it will give you all the “feels” as well. What are you waiting for?

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Dawn Hrdlica-Burke

VP People & Culture/ Talent Consulting at Kinetix. Advisor. Speaker. Writer.

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