Engagement

recognition & trust: key employee engagement drivers for a global economy

By brian katz
Employee Engagement

It’s daunting to think about competing in a global economy, especially when considering the obvious international roadblocks that can detail a business. Profits, goals and objectives can get lost in the quagmire of logistical, communications, tax, trade, political and cultural landmines that can come with working across countries and continents.

Fortunately, there is at least one constant upon which a business person can rely; a truism that holds from Moscow to Sydney, from Dubai to Rio, from Milwaukee to Beijing, and all points in between. And that is (drum roll, please): people like to be recognized and appreciated for their work and their contributions.

You may not think that’s much of a revelation, but frankly, you should. This little piece of information is a tool. When properly used, it can enhance trust between you and the other person. And, as we all know, a high level of trust solves a lot of problems and salves a lot of blunders.

Recognition works because it requires communication, and communication is a key driver of trust. Obviously, communication occurs in many forms—it can’t always be about recognition—but, the advantage of recognition is that it is universally desired. Unless executed poorly or perfunctorily, it appeals to a human condition that innately craves validation that the recipient is more than a cog, that he is a contributor and appreciated. In short, it confirms the individual and his work are valued, which in turn imparts respect and dignity.

So, recognize a co-worker when they work overtime they put in to see a job through or tell a vendor how much you appreciate the fact his company consistently delivers on time. I know that’s what you are paying for, but appealing to that element of the human psyche that likes to be acknowledged for doing the job well will enhance the trust between you. In return, it will make it easier to have a delicate conversation when that vendor or colleague disappoints you, and the other party is more likely to work quickly to solve the problem.

There are too many things that can (and will) go awry as you work in the global arena. Take advantage of this one tool. It does not require a lot of research to assure that you do not commit a social faux pas.

Categories: Engagement, Insights

Cheryl T

“People like to be recognized and appreciated for their work and their contributions.” – never mind “like to be”, how about NEED to be! A lack of recognition leads to all kinds of job satisfaction issues. I think it’s pretty safe to say that employee recognition is more than a “want” or a “nice to have”!

Love the tone of your post though, and I couldn’t agree more that building trust can pay so many other dividends in business.

March 21, 2012   |   Reply   |  
steve

It’s my strong belief that recognition is the most important thing if you want to keep your employees engaged. One of the best ways to do so is to show them that their work is meaningful and that it has some tangible results. I don’t understand why employee engagement has been ignored by so many organizations and employers for such a long time. Only now it’s beginning to dawn on some of them how strongly it’s connected to having satisfied customers and thus making more profit. In my opinion one of the most important ways to engage employees is to show them the progress that the company is making. There’s nothing that puts me off more than a dull and steady job. You would be surprised but unhappiness in the workplace where progress means nothing is often connected to health problems. According to various surveys, people with low-paying jobs and with few possibilities to make progress have a higher risk of heart disease than those who feel satisfied in their careers. I just recently read that only a small number of employees are happy with their working environment which results in increasing importance being placed on different wellness programs and even a workplace exercise regimen to increase productivity and develop a more positive attitude.

March 28, 2012   |   Reply   |  
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By brian katz

Brian Katz is our legal genius, serving as a vice president and General Counsel for O.C. Tanner for almost a decade. His great work keeps our company safe and at the top of its game. And, as the former Senior General Council to the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, he understands the importance and power of symbolic recognition.