At the center of what gives life meaning isn't what we buy or the places we go, but rather the people with whom we share these experiences. Nothing can compare to real, authentic human connections.
It's safe to say that outside of our families and loved ones, the people we work with make up the vast majority of human interactions we have on a daily basis - in fact, Globoforce's research has found that 92 percent of people spend more than 30 hours a week with colleagues, as opposed to only 52 percent who spend that much time with family. So why then, when we place such a premium on human interaction and the existential fulfillment it brings, have we departed from a workplace in which humans are treated as humans?
According to a new survey from the WorkHuman Research Institute, 40 percent of employees have not been recognized in the past year by their employers. This lack of appreciation takes its toll on employee morale and productivity. After all, why would any employee care about their company's success when their work isn't being validated as an integral part of driving meaningful results? It's for this reason, along with the overall benefits to culture and retention, that it's so important to inspire greater meaning, purpose and value among employees. This is the reason it has become our goal to bring humanity back into the workplace.
How does one start to create a human-focused workplace? At its essence, recognition is the foundational element to infusing humanity into the workplace. There are two words capable of creating and sustaining a human-centric workplace built upon a culture of trust and employee well-being. It all begins with "Thank you." Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs tells us that people are motivated by a sense of belonging, esteem and validation. By giving and receiving recognition, these needs can be met in the workplace.
At Globoforce, we aim to fulfill these fundamental drivers through recognition. It is the foundation of our people-focused culture. With the program, colleagues can nominate each other for great behaviors and exemplary efforts at the moment they happen. The recognition is shared throughout the company, and the recipient is given an award that translates into tangible, memorable rewards and experiences. While the rewards system gives our employees goals to strive for, it is ultimately the larger social impact of active recognition that keeps them continually recognizing one another's achievements and contributions.
It's clear that when an employee's efforts are routinely recognized, it validates their contributions to something much larger. According to our 2016 WorkHuman Research Institute survey, 92 percent of employees say recognition made them feel more appreciated, 86 percent say they felt happier at work and 85 percent feel more satisfied in their jobs. Admittance into this culture of recognition creates a greater level of affinity for one's work, and ultimately reinforces the idea that employees are members of a much larger collective with a core set of values, working together to achieve a common goal.
In our continued pursuit to inspire this type of culture globally and propel the future of the human workplace, we pioneered the WorkHuman movement. Now in its second year, WorkHuman is dedicated to helping educate, energize, and engage business and HR leaders to build more human-focused work culture. The movement culminates with an annual conference that serves as the catalyst for creating a more inclusive and human workplace; one that values individuals as key components to the growth and success of an organization.
It is this type of human-centric workplace culture that is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent. Today's workforce is comprised of more socially-conscious constituents with employees caring less about rigidly structured, ineffective bonus systems and more about ongoing feedback and the pursuit of fulfilling some greater existential purpose. Professionals today want to be a part of something larger than themselves, and contribute to something that in some way positively impacts the human experience. It's for these reasons that companies should focus on culture as a competitive differentiator, as it is recognition and appreciation that will ultimately attract employees, increase bottom-line business results and propel the future of the human workplace.
Eric Mosley is the CEO of Globoforce, a social recognition firm and the company that created the WorkHuman conference taking place in Phoenix, Arizona May 30-June 1, 2017.
Pathway To Purpose is a new blog series geared towards exploring why employees are putting a greater value on purpose in the workplace, and how employers are responding. How are you taking purpose to the next level in your workplace? Let us know at PurposePlusProfit@huffingtonpost.com or by tweeting with #PathwayToPurpose.