A More Human Workplace

I bet you thought that since you’re human, then you must work in a “human workplace,” right?  Well, not so fast. The WorkHuman Research Institute at Globoforce recently published a study (involving approximately 1000 employed people across the United States) that asked participants  the following three questions:

  • What makes a workplace more human?
  • What is the impact of a more human workplace on worker and company well-being?
  • How can leaders create a more human workplace?

Are you ready to rate your job? The results of the study point to several elements and drivers of the “new human workplace,” with the overwhelming influencer being RECOGNITION. In a nutshell, when leaders and organizations offer frequent acknowledgement and recognition, both formal and informal, employees rate the company very high in fostering feelings of trust, engagement, happiness, brand support, and positive work attitudes. So, where does your company stand on the following 4 influencing factors?

  1. When respondents were recognized within the last six months by a leader or manager, they were more than twice as likely to believe leaders cared. Even more interesting was that even the presence of a recognition program tied to corporate values significantly impacted high scores. Furthermore, when employees were given opportunities to give their opinions and ideas, they were more likely to agree that their leaders cared. Other factors under this category included the demonstration and presence of transparency, learning and development opportunities, appreciation, respect, a fun culture, and alignment with core value. Do you know your company’s core values? Do organizational policies and decisions follow the core values? Has your organization recently asked you and used any of your thoughts and ideas?
  2. Recognition creates a more engaged and positive culture. Recognition made 92% of employees feel appreciated, 86% prouder and happier, 85% more satisfied with their jobs, 82% more engaged, and 79% saying they work harder when recognized! These factors further influenced intent to stay (75%), increased trust (72%), and a higher emotional connection to work (70%). And guess what? Giving recognition is free.
  3. Employees’ attitudes toward change and optimism for the future correlate with recognition efforts and efforts to build a more human workplace. Of those who were recognized within a month, 55% reported feeling confident about change, and 14% felt excited. That’s versus only 34% confident and 7% excited for those who had not been recognized. The numbers increased when the culture also included transparency and opportunities to share opinions.
  4. Bet you thought that how you feel at home is separated from how your feel at the office? Not necessarily so. In organizations where employees felt that leadership cared by fostering engagement initiatives, 91% said they were happy at work and at home. In contrast, among disengaged workers, the happiness factor plummeted 32 points with a further decrease in being happy at home.

When asked, “What makes a human workplace,” the three most important descriptions were “respect for people as individuals,” “they care about the employees’ well-being,” and “all are recognized and appreciated.” You cynics may be saying, “Why care? Companies are just out to make money.” Well, the findings also show that a more human workplace creates positive energy and motivation—which leads directly to better bottom-line results. As the saying goes, “the soft stuff is the hard stuff.”

So how about your company?

Virginia Bianco-Mathis is a Partner at the Strategic Performance Group, a Senior Consultant at Oyster Organizational Development, and Director of the Human Resources and Organization Development program at Marymount University. She is a thought leader whose work spans all aspects of human resources, and has deep experience in academia, consulting, and executive coaching.