In Praise of Workplace Praise

I know, I know…I’ve said it hundreds of times before, but I’m going to keep saying it because it’s just too darn important – work matters! It’s why you’re getting a paycheck! But work isn’t, hopefully, just about the paycheck. If you want to boost workplace happiness levels (and trust me, you do), lower stress, and drive innovation in your workplace then you need to get serious about recognizing, celebrating and appreciating each other. And at an individual level, if YOU want to feel happier at work, then start recognizing other people more often since genuinely thanking other people has been shown to boost our own level of happiness. Here are some more thoughts on the science of recognition from the book, The Best Place to Work, by Ron Friedman:

  • Studies show that a regular pat on the back can function like a shot in the arm: Employees who feel more appreciated tend to experience less stress, sleep better, and recuperate more quickly bigstock-A-red-Feedback-box-for-collect-44419138from illness.
  • Research suggests that being ignored can be more psychologically damaging than being treated poorly!
  • Recognizing a desired behavior is more effective than recognizing the person.
  • Public recognition tends to be far more powerful than private praise.
  • Pursuing long term goals makes employees feel happier and more fulfilled than when they pursue short term goals.
  • Learning is inherently rewarding: Studies show that acquiring new information boosts dopamine level, which improves our mood and heightens our interest in work-related activities. Investing in training opportunities, encouraging employees to take courses, attending conferences, and offering reading budgets can all help create a growth mindset at work. And when learning becomes routine, people tend to see patterns more often, make novel connections, and think more creatively.

So what are you waiting for? Start a recognition epidemic in your workplace – you can always thank me later.

Michael Kerr, April, 2015.  Michael helps organizations achieve the results they deserve by helping organizations create more inspiring, innovative cultures. Check our his latest raved about book, The Humor Advantage – Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank! 

 

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