Something more important than “fun” at work

I consider my job fun and I love that I do it from home. But at times, interacting with editors from a distance makes me feel unappreciated. I typically only hear complaints or tend to catch them on the phone when they are grumpy. I have learned over many years in the workforce that happiness at work (and what you're willing to put up with) comes not only from our job title, but also feeling like we're appreciated.

My guest blogger today is Neal McNamara, Communications Manager at TINYhr, software to increase employee engagement.  McNamara contacted me to let me know about the correlation between worker happiness and recognition at work and some surprising discoveries his company made when it surveyed employees. You can reach Neal at neal@tinypulse.com. Below is his take on what makes us engaged at work.

 

NealThe other day at work, I got a very nice thank-you note from a colleague congratulating me for a relatively minor thing I had done.

What’s special about that? The colleague works in the sales department, I work in marketing. We’ve spoken to each other maybe three times. All I know about him is that he likes sports; I don’t like sports at all. We don’t know each other well. That’s why his thank-you to me was so meaningful. He took the time out of his day to pay attention to me, a gesture as shocking to me as it was pleasant.

Showing appreciation for a colleague at work (or even your boss!) is extremely powerful. A new report by the employee engagement specialists at TINYpulse has revealed that frequent recognition reduces turnover, increases the fun-ness of work, is good for branding, and even makes management look good.

TINYpulse is an app that sends one-question surveys to employees every week, which managers use to fix workplace issues. Drawing on survey results from over 500 clients, they were able to find correlations between employees who get lots of work appreciation with other positive aspects of work.

Unfortunately, the study revealed that too few employers are taking advantage of such an inexpensive way to boost morale. Only 47 percent reported getting recognition at work, which means that 53 percent of workers reported low levels of recognition.

Another knockout finding was the effect of appreciation on retention. Any employer knows that replacing an employee is expensive. Replacing an employee can cost up to 150 percent of their salary, and it can take up to eight months before a new employee becomes fully productive.

But take heart: the employees who reported getting lots of appreciation appeared eager to stay in their jobs. They were the most likely to score highly on the question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how enthusiastic would you be about reapplying for your job?”

The report also revealed a surprising fact about fun in the workplace. The stereotype of a fun workplace might include items like a ping-pong table, free beer, and beanbag chairs. However, recognition dwarfs those perks. TINYpulse found a strong correlation between recognition and workers describing work as “fun.” When asked what makes work fun, 70 percent reported that it was their peers. Only 8 percent credited fun-and-games with making work fun.

The benefits of recognition also extend to the boss. Employees whose bosses gave them frequent, consistent recognition scored high marks. Essentially, workers were more likely to rate their bosses favorably if they got a “Nice job!” when it was deserved.

To put it simply, recognition is powerful. I know because I experienced it firsthand, and it improved my day. As much of a cliché it is, I’ll definitely pay it forward.

That’s an example of how one small gesture can change a whole office.

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

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