Alison Newman’s post – Expressions of Gratitude: Building Blocks of Recognition – was inspired by January’s designation as National Thank You month. Alison discusses the positive impact expressions of gratitude and appreciation have on individuals when they and their efforts are valued by others – and the organization. The individual, however, isn’t the only benefactor when recognition is witnessed by others.
Witnessing gratitude and recognition becomes a powerful motivator – enhancing (and even shaping) overall organizational culture and performance. We speak about employee recognition programs aligning with company culture, and this is absolutely crucial. But the game changer is the impact on your employees who merely witness positive interaction in the workplace.
Darcy Jacobsen’s superb post entitled The Witness Effect: How Social Recognition and Gratitude Impact Everyone speaks to the positivity and power of what she terms social recognition – “where people are able to see recognition that has been given, add their congratulations, and bear witness to the recognition moment.”
Jacobsen refers to the work of UNC professor Barbara Fredrickson and her article entitled Positive Emotions and Upward Spirals in Organizations – wherein she describes the impact of positive emotions on individual and organizational functioning (page 164).
“The bottom-line message is that organizational members should consider cultivating positive emotions in themselves and others, not just as end-states in themselves, but also as a means to achieving individual and organizational transformation and optimal functioning over time.”
This video illustrates the positive impact that expressions of gratitude and kindness can have on recipients and witnesses alike. As Frederickson writes (page 172), “Organizational transformation becomes possible because each person’s positive emotions can reverberate through other organizational members.” She goes on to say “another way that positive emotions spread through organizations is by creating chains of events that carry positive meaning for others.”
Something to keep in mind when constructing or reviewing your employee recognition program.