How to use reward and recognition to support your employees’ wellbeing


Did you know that people prefer getting likes on social media to chocolate? Chocolate!? Who would have thought?! Apparently the ‘likes’ release feel-good chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin. But what if you could bring in a recognition tool that also released the feel-good factor, created a supportive culture, drove employee behaviour and feelings, and supported their overall wellbeing at the same time?

How to use reward and recognition to support your employees’ wellbeing

Feel-good messengers...

So, what are these so-called feel-good chemicals? Well, they’re chemical messengers which circulate around the body and spring into action when something good is happening. There are four of them called endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.

Serotonin is known as the ‘happy hormone’ and this can affect not just mood, but appetite and libido. Dopamine is the reward seeking messenger that helps us take action, again and again, to feel good. Endorphins are commonly known to be released when we’re running our legs off with exercise, but they can even fire when we simply change our physiology and break a smile or laugh. Finally, Oxytocin is famous for being the “love” or “bonding” hormone.

Feel-good boost

So, how can providing a recognition and reward platform help boost these hormones?

Give someone recognition for a job well done and they will naturally feel good about themselves. Their serotonin levels will increase and they will feel happy. This will reflect back on you as an organisation and can help your employees feel more focused and energetic.

Link recognition to your company values and goals, and your employees will feel a sense of achievement. Their brains will flood with dopamine and they’ll want to repeat that again and again to achieve the same feeling. Your employees are likely to be more engaged and motivated, and this in turn can only help you support your overall company objectives.

Make the recognition to your employees public with social media type “likes” and you’ll see lots of smiles and laughter, with a sea of endorphins rising above the coffee machine! This will certainly help your employees’ stress levels and contribute to their overall health.

Finally, make it peer-to-peer. In other words, as well as the boss giving out commendations, let John recognise Sue who helped him out with a difficult customer, or enable Sarah to say well done to Alan who finalised all of the end of month figures in record time. 

Just watch the bond increase between employees and those oxytocin levels rise as they give their virtual hugs! Employees will enjoy being in a supportive culture and their productivity levels could also rise as a result.

The author is Neil Bowen, commercial director, You at Work.

This article was provided by You at Work.


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