Time doesn’t do refunds. Nor does it offer any rewards. It’s a pithy statement made famous by David Hieatt, creator of the DO Lectures. In his talks to entrepreneurs, he says, “The ‘Time Bank’ won’t tell you how to spend it. Time poorly spent will not be replaced with more time.”
Put that into perspective. A typical workweek has 120 hours. Given a 40-hour workweek, you spend one-third of that time interacting with colleagues. I’d argue it’s probably more time than you spend with your family or loved ones. This reality makes having positive relationships at work extremely important.
Mental Health America says when employers prioritize positive relationships at work, they promote a creative, collaborative, and supportive workplace culture. On the other hand, if employers allow toxic relationships to manifest, it can increase stress levels and feelings of isolation. The result, Mental Health America asserts, is a negative impact on employee mental and physical health, which lowers morale and motivation.
When peer-to-peer recognition is frequent, visible, and meaningful, it becomes part of an employee’s everyday habits. Imagine sending a colleague a “job well done!” for their latest project, welcoming a new team member aboard their first day, or showcasing a peer who went above and beyond — recognition has value at every step of the employee experience.
Here Are Four Reasons Why Continuous Recognition Should Be the New Normal:
- Technology makes it easier. Reward Gateway research found that 82% of HR professionals in the U.S. believe employee engagement would improve if their people had the technology to recognize their peers for good behavior. An employee engagement app, for example, can integrate into your existing HR technology and mimic the type of digital experience employees get on personal social sharing platforms. Technology enables access and frequency, so peer-to-peer recognition can be done in real-time. Recognition and rewards technology also keeps your employees connected to each other, whether they are on the train headed home or at the watercooler catching up with a co-worker.
- Real-time feels more organic. Employees attach different expectations when recognition is given in a timely manner. Why make employees wait until the employee-of-the-month happy hour to give them kudos? With the right recognition and rewards technology, employees can send, comment, and react to recognition moments in real-time (before it’s old news). And they can put the spotlight on these moments, even in between meetings, using e-cards, blog posts, or instant awards.
- Promotes “team” performance for organizational success. Programs that allow peer-to-peer recognition and rewards to thrive help to foster trust among teams. According to author Stephen M. R. Covey, trust is essential for unparalleled success and prosperity within a business organization. Giving an “attaboy” to a colleague encourages more collaboration that builds stronger team dynamics over time. And it simply creates the space for more recognizable opportunities to occur and to be acted upon by people who work alongside the employee.
- Managers are busy, give them the tools. The demand for a manager’s time is usually high, and keeping tabs on every employee’s shining moment can be challenging. In fact, 60% of workers feel that their colleagues could be thanked and praised more regularly by managers and leaders. Our 2017 study found that 54% of employees would rather work for a company with a culture where they receive recognition over a higher salary job where they don’t get any recognition. Managers being available to react and respond when these moments occur is critical because recognition is one of the key drivers needed for employees to become ingrained in a company’s values and corporate mission. When you give managers the tools they need to overcome the barriers, they, too, can be active participants in continuous recognition.
Peer-to-peer employee recognition and rewards have the power to foster the type of positive workplace relationships that lead employees to have better job satisfaction and increased productivity. It is also the foundation for creating a culture of continuous recognition.
We can’t get time back, but we can give employees a reason to feel like each workday is time well spent. By giving employees and managers the tools to more easily give recognition and rewards, we can also actively include employees in building positive workplace relationships and more meaningful employee experiences.