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4 Steps to Build a Human Workplace

By Derek Irvine

Construction workerRecognize This! – Research points to the importance of a caring and purpose-driven culture, leadership support, and values-aligned recognition in creating a human workplace.

Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute recently released a report on The ROI of Recognition in Building a Human Workplace. Below I outline several key findings from that report, and describe the steps that organizational leaders can take to create more human workplaces. In short, social recognition, along with support from leadership, can help create caring and purpose-driven cultures that in turn help employees to be both happier and more productive at work. Here’s how:

Put the Right Culture in Place

Our research suggests there are two attributes at the core of what it means to create a more human workplace. The biggest differentiators, between companies that are human-focused and those that are not, include a culture that is:

  • Caring – when employees believe their leaders are creating a human workplace, they’re almost three times more likely to feel their company cares about them as a person (89% compared to 31%).
  • Meaning and purpose – when employees believe their leaders are creating a human workplace, 90% feel their company provides meaning and purpose, compared to 64%.

A human workplace emphasizes the mutually reinforcing nature of these two attributes when combined into a unified culture. Employees not only feel psychologically safe to contribute their best selves, but are more likely to reciprocate the positive support they receive from the organization. When they also experience a sense of purpose and meaningfulness in their work, they are able to unleash that much more of their potential and productivity.

There are a couple of practices that organizations can implement to ensure that a unified culture is transmitted across the entire organization, amplifying the contributions of all employees.

Have Leaders Carry the Banner

As the data above illustrate, organizational leaders serve as important signals of the attention and importance being given to these ideas. When employees perceive that leaders care about and actively try to create a more human workplace, they are more likely to recommend the organization to friends or colleagues (93%), love their jobs (83%), and be motivated to work hard for the organization and co-workers (91%).

Recognize for Core Values (Appreciate + Give Purpose)

Another key practice is recognition that is tied to values. While tactical recognition programs (in 50% of human-centered companies) can begin to contribute to a culture of appreciation and caring, only a values-based, social recognition program can emphasize the dual importance of a caring culture alongside values-driven purpose (in 80% of human-centered companies).

Our research shows that when employees are recognized, they feel appreciated (92%), prouder of their work (86%), and more engaged (83%). Furthermore, they report that recognition makes them work harder (79%) and be more productive (78%). These outcomes tightly align employees to the caring and purpose-driven aspects of a human-centered culture described above.

Create Happier Employees

When leadership and recognition support the creation a more human workplace, our research has found that employees are happier. Employees that are engaged in the organization’s purpose and values, and feel that the organization cares about them, tend to be happier at work (97% and 96%, respectively, compared to 65% and 79%). Employees that feel their leaders care about a human-centered culture are also much happier (96%) than when they perceived their leaders as less caring (82%).

What other practices do you think contribute to building a more human workplace?

To learn more about these findings and how you can work towards creating a more human workplace, register for a webinar that Sharlyn Lauby and I will be giving on April 14th!

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