The 4 Key Steps to Building a More Human Workplace

Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute recently released a report on The ROI of Recognition in Building a Human Workplace.

Here are several key findings from the report that describes the steps that organizational leaders can take to create more human workplaces.

In short, social recognition, along with support from leadership, can help create caring and purpose-driven cultures that in turn help employees to be both happier and more productive at work. Here’s how:

1. Put the right culture in place

Our research suggests there are two attributes at the core of what it means to create a more human workplace. The biggest differentiators, between companies that are human-focused and those that are not, include a culture that is:

  • Caring – When employees believe their leaders are creating a human workplace, they’re almost three times more likely to feel their company cares about them as a person (89 percent compared to 31 percent).
  • Meaning and purpose – When employees believe their leaders are creating a human workplace, 90 percent feel their company provides meaning and purpose.

A human workplace emphasizes the mutually reinforcing nature of these two attributes when combined into a unified culture. Employees not only feel psychologically safe to contribute their best selves, but are more likely to reciprocate the positive support they receive from the organization.

When they also experience a sense of purpose and meaningfulness in their work, they are able to unleash that much more of their potential and productivity.

There are a couple of practices that organizations can implement to ensure that a unified culture is transmitted across the entire organization, amplifying the contributions of all employees.

2. Have leaders carry the banner

As the data illustrates, organizational leaders serve as important signals of the attention and importance being given to these ideas.

When employees perceive that leaders care about and actively try to create a more human workplace, they are more likely to recommend the organization to friends or colleagues (93 percent), love their jobs (83 percent), and be motivated to work hard for the organization and co-workers (91 percent).

3. Recognize for core values 

Another key practice is recognition that is tied to values.

While tactical recognition programs (in 50 percent of human-centered companies) can begin to contribute to a culture of appreciation and caring, only a values-based, social recognition program can emphasize the dual importance of a caring culture alongside values-driven purpose (in 80 percent of human-centered companies).

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Our research shows that when employees are recognized, they feel appreciated (92 percent), prouder of their work (86 percent), and more engaged (83 percent). Furthermore, they report that recognition makes them work harder (79 percent) and be more productive (78 percent).

These outcomes tightly align employees to the caring and purpose-driven aspects of a human-centered culture described above.

4. Create happier employees

When leadership and recognition support the creation a more human workplace, our research has found that employees are happier.

Employees that are engaged in the organization’s purpose and values, and feel that the organization cares about them, tend to be happier at work (97 percent and 96 percent, respectively, compared to 65 percent and 79 percent). Employees that feel their leaders care about a human-centered culture are also much happier (96 percent) than when they perceived their leaders as less caring (82 percent).

What other practices do you think contribute to building a more human workplace?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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