Don’t underestimate the power of recognition. A survey from LinkedIn revealed that the single largest contributor to an overall sense of belonging at work is recognition for accomplishments.
A sense of belonging plays a critical role in everything from job performance to retention, which means managers should make a habit of acknowledging staff achievements. In fact, when it comes to employee recognition, more is more. According to Gallup, employees who strongly agree that they’ve received “meaningful feedback” in the past week are almost four times more likely than other employees to be engaged. The reverse is also true: 54% of employees who quit their jobs in the last year did so because they felt undervalued, a symptom of poor feedback structures.
The solution is to make feedback and recognition part of the normal routine at your company. Not only will it help employees feel appreciated, it will also allow them to fix mistakes and alter processes in real time. After all, it doesn’t exactly build up goodwill between managers and staff to hear about a misstep when it can no longer be corrected.
Show Employees That Their Work Is Appreciated
Here are some ways you can empower your managers to give transparent, objective feedback on a more frequent basis.
Check in more often. Your employees shouldn’t have to wait for their annual review to get an understanding of how they’re doing at their jobs. Encourage managers to have frequent one-on-ones with each of their employees and hold debriefs or post-mortems after big projects. They can also use the 2x2 feedback system which allows managers and staff alike to commend each other’s good work and find areas for improvement.
Give feedback in real time. If a manager sees an employee go above and beyond, they should show their gratitude immediately. It only takes a moment to shoot off a Slack message or give someone a shoutout in a meeting, and their employee will cherish that recognition. Similarly, if an employee makes a mistake, it can be a great opportunity for growth if a manager shows them how they can remedy it early on.
Balance criticism with plenty of praise. Constructive criticism is essential to helping workers when they’ve fallen off track, but, on the whole, workers need positive reinforcement far more than they need censure. The Harvard Business Review has found that, on the highest-performing teams, managers made nearly six positive comments for every negative comment, and for low-performing teams, the ratio was 0.36:1. Make sure managers know that it’s more important to show their support than to show their disapproval. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Help Employees Discover a Sense of Belonging
It’s human nature to crave recognition and a sense of belonging. If you make it part of your company culture to acknowledge employee achievements on a regular basis, you can set a foundation for connection and belonging that will help your entire company.
But that’s not the only thing you can do to promote a sense of belonging at your organization.
You can also create a space for your employees to connect with each other outside of work, a space where they can go to build on the feelings of community and satisfaction that job recognition will bring.
Wisq is a platform where colleagues can share who they are outside of work using curated feeds, drop-in voice chats, and more. Your employees will be able to make new friends, deepen existing relationships, and find mentors and support groups, which can lead to a happier and more engaged workforce overall.