How Staff Recognition Programs Positively Impact Employee Wellbeing

When it comes to the motivation of a workforce there is plenty of evidence to support that staff recognition programs have a positive influence. But what effect do they have on staff mental health and wellbeing?

Demotivated staff can lead to an increased number of sick days and as a result lower productivity levels. This can be prevented by revamping your employee reward and recognition efforts. More effectively showing your staff members that they are valued members of the team. 

Focus on Physical Health

If your employees are motivated and happy, they are more likely to put in the hours for your company. You can ensure employees feel valued not only by focusing on their physical wellbeing but also their mental health too.

Studies show that last year 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury and that de-motivated employees average around 2.17 sick days per month, while happy, engaged employees only take 1.25 sick days per month. Employees that feel valued take less time off due to stress related issues and therefore work harder to reach the company’s goals.

The good news is that companies can turn this around by effectively recognizing employee performance in a well-structured manner. As a result, more and more companies are taking a holistic approach to health and safety. Putting a focus on psychological health as well as the physical safety of an employee.

The Psychological Impact

Key areas of the brain are affected by appreciation and gratefulness, according to Psychology Today. Hypothalamus, which controls basic bodily functions such as eating and sleeping, and dopamine, the “reward neurotransmitter” are heavily affected from feelings of gratitude.

“Gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle.” – Alex Korb Ph.D

Showing gratitude can increase a person’s wellness, increase better sleep habits, increase metabolism and lessen stress. Thereby having a positive effect on their effectiveness in the workplace and ability to achieve a healthy work/life balance.

Regular recognition between colleagues creates more social and prosocial interaction. The Positive Psychology Program defines prosocial as “promoting other’s wellbeing usually through altruistic acts” and they state;

“Gratitude is currently one of the hottest topics in positive emotion research. People who participated in gratitude exercises were found to be more prosocial than others.”

Therefore by giving employees and managers the means to express their gratitude they will be more willing to share their positive feelings with others. Whether it’s helping out with a project or taking time to notice and recognising those that have gone the extra mile.

Incorporate Regular Employee Recognition into Company Culture

Launching a centralised recognition scheme into your company can give employees a sense of purpose. This in turn can have a positive effect on profits and productivity. The power of praise and recognition cannot be denied and it’s no secret that positive feedback can lead to increased self-esteem and engagement with company goals, but not just any old recognition scheme will get results.

A complement here or there may have positive effects in the short term but for both the employee and the company to truly benefit, recognition must be a key business focus, delivered in a timely manner, regularly and linked to corporate values.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management employee engagement is improved by 61 percent when employee recognition programs are introduced.

After all, an employee who feels their contributions are valued by the company and appreciated by their colleagues is an engaged employee.

Take One Step at a Time

Improving employee wellbeing via an in-house recognition scheme takes time and it isn’t something that can happen over night. The best place to start is to asses your current employee recognition efforts or if you don’t have anything in place at present, get feedback from your employees on how regular recognition would improve their every day attitude to the workplace. Keep in mind that one-off rewards whilst appreciated at the time, won’t have a lasting impact on attitudes and work out a plan to thank employees for their time and effort regularly.

There isn’t a one size fits all approach to employee wellbeing and what may engage and empower one employee may not have the same impact on another. For this reason, you should involve employees in the planning process of your re-vamped recognition scheme and show that their opinions and feedback are valued.

Physical safety of employees is of the upmost importance but isn’t the psychological health of employees of equal importance? There are many factors that contribute to an employee’s health and wellbeing but there is an undeniable link between recognition in the workplace and better employee wellbeing. So is your recognition scheme up to scratch?

Take a look at our employee recognition solutions here