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21 Jul 2022
by David Danzig

Why recognition is a powerful mental wellbeing tool for a hybrid workplace

Feeling valued and recognised for good work puts employees at much less risk of burn out and mental illness

Why recognition is such a powerful mental wellbeing tool and how it can be best used in a hybrid workplace.jpg 1


Tackling mental wellbeing in the workplace continues to be a growing issue for HR teams.

According to research, 44% of UK workers admit that they don’t feel in control – a rise of 30% in just four years, while 45% confess there are times they’ve felt like running away.

Finding strategies for managing employees’ mental health are crucial and yet using recognition as a mental wellbeing tool is all too often overlooked. In fact, integrating recognition into everyday culture significantly reduces the odds of stress and burnout and, crucially, it can be used just as effectively within a hybrid workplace.

The link between recognition and wellbeing

Poor mental health can be caused and/or exacerbated by a negative workplace culture. When employees are working hard day in and day out, and don’t feel valued, ‘seen’ nor understood, their mental health will be affected. And, when people feel alone at work, rather than connected to the organisation, their leaders and teammates, mental health can deteriorate.

It’s unsurprising that when companies treat their people as merely workers they are more likely to feel burned out. Research shows that when there’s a perception that a company’s bottom line is more important than its employees, it leads to an 18% increase in the odds of burning out.

To improve mental wellbeing, it’s important to nurture a workplace culture in which everyone feels appreciated, treated as an individual and part of a caring team. And effective recognition is key to achieving this. OC Tanner’s Global Culture Report found that organisations with integrated recognition are 44% less likely to have employees suffering from burnout.

By regularly praising great effort and results, an individual’s hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and by providing recognition that’s personalised and tailored towards the individual, it shows that the employee receiving the recognition has been seen and understood.

Plus peer-to-peer recognition giving is highly effective at deepening team connections. And as recognition becomes regularly shared across the organisation, workplace connections are further amplified and instances of employee loneliness are reduced.

Recognition in a hybrid world

In a hybrid work model, organisations may struggle with how to evolve their recognition programmes considering employees will have less face-to-face contact. However, giving and receiving appreciation remains crucial when people are physically apart, as it ensures everyone continues to feel a valued and supported member of the team.

Meaningful recognition doesn’t have to be complicated. By thinking through how recognition fits into the new hybrid employee experience, the right systems and processes can be put in place for the quick and easy giving and receiving of recognition.

Technology is key and we’ll see many organisations introducing or adapting technologies to ensure appreciation is integrated into people’s daily flow of work. Solutions that allow recognition giving at a touch of a button, which provide career anniversary prompts, and which remove time-consuming administration when organising recognition ceremonies (both in-person and virtual), can all support a successful recognition programme in a hybrid world.

Harness recognition for mental health

So how can organisations improve mental wellbeing? Through integrated and personalised recognition. It’s a powerful tool for nurturing a culture of appreciation, belonging and care that helps employees to feel valued, seen and more connected to others. In such an environment serious mental health issues – such as burnout – become far less likely.

* Research taken from O.C. Tanner’s Global Culture Report

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