The Psychological Side of Employee Recognition

Most true leaders and entrepreneurs know that keeping their team motivated via praise and recognition is essential to overall organizational success. It just makes common sense that employees who feel like they matter and are recognized for their efforts are happier than those who feel that they’re unimportant. Of course, there’s a great deal of research and psychology behind that common-sense finding.

Here at Cristaux International, we think that understanding the psychological dimensions of employee recognition is fascinating. More than that, though, we think it’s important. Once you understand what really drives your employees when it comes to praise, you can craft recognition strategies that will have incredible payoffs for your organization.

Is Praise Just About Feeling Good?

Behavioral psychologists and human resources experts have long been fascinated by the effects of praise on the psyche. They’ve studied it in everyone from babies to the elderly, and many researchers have focused on understanding the dynamics of praise in the workplace. They’ve found that well-executed, public praise does more for employees than just give them a self-esteem boost. It can also

  • help employees establish a sense of purpose within your organization
  • boost employee satisfaction
  • increase overall productivity
  • encourage greater emotional wellbeing in your workforce and
  • enable employees to recognize their own professional growth

At its root, receiving praise from our superiors or peers reinforces our positive self image. When you praise employees, you help them see themselves in a positive professional light. This is essential to developing future leaders and to building a strong company culture as a whole.

What Effective Employee Recognition Means for Your Organization

Researchers have long noted that effective employee recognition can help increase employee satisfaction and productivity. It might seem like that’s just because recognition increases self esteem. However, the power of recognition goes beyond that and helps connect increased self esteem to organizational aims. Employees who are recognized effectively know not only that they have something to brag about but also that they have a real purpose and place in your organization.

When it comes to recognition, don’t doubt that having a place is key. Yes, your employees want to feel like they’re appreciated for their accomplishments. However, they also want to know that their accomplishments have added direct value to your organization. They want to know that they really belong in your organization. Whenever you can, you have to reinforce to key team members that they have a place. After all, your employees may spend more time at your office than they do in their own homes. Feeling out of place is dispiriting, and it can drag down on productivity big time.

Effective recognition meets the essential psychological needs of individual employees in your organization. It also helps build an organizational culture of praise. When employees feel like they’ve found their place, they’re more likely to recognize those around them. That means that your best employees turn into your organization’s best ambassadors too, and there’s just no substitute for that.