3 Programs Adopted By Award-Winning Workplaces

March 1, 2017 Sarah Payne

Michael Scott

With all the buzz surrounding the Oscar winners this week, I wonder what the equivalent of the Oscars is in the HR world? Having your company named as a best place to work is certainly a highlight for any HR team working to create culture that naturally attracts top talent (especially when 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job). And just as the Razzies publishes an annual list of the year’s worst movies, you’re probably also aware that there is a worst companies to work for list. Ouch.

How do companies win workplace culture awards in the first place? Do you have to be a unicorn? Have unlimited HR budget? Blessed with a super cool product? While these factors play a part, they don’t represent the core tenets of a healthy culture.

The 2016 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey report shows where to focus your efforts for the best results. We asked nearly 800 HR professionals if their organization has received an award for workplace culture or programs in the past three years. We then looked at the types of programs prevalent in those award-winning organizations.

Check out the chart above – 91% of those companies focus on learning and development, 86% focus on health and wellness, and 86% focus on recognition and appreciation. Nurturing an award-winning culture is not necessarily about offering pingpong tables or beer taps. It’s about recognizing the whole human at work – understanding that people want to grow with your organization, work in a healthy environment, and be appreciated for their contributions.

Let’s a take a deeper dive into the top three programs, the first of which is learning and development. Glassdoor recently released a report titled, Why Do Workers Quit? The Factors That Predict Employee Turnover. The report specifically looks at cases of 5,000 workers who changed jobs between 2007 and 2016. They found that stagnating in a role for an additional 10 months is associated with a 1% higher chance that the typical employee will leave the company for their next job. Offering clearer career paths with formal learning and development minimizes the risk of stagnation and eventual turnover.

The second area that award-winning workplaces focus on is health and wellness. Data from Globoforce and IBM’s Employee Experience Index shows that work-life balance is one of six proven human workplace practices. There is a 31 percentage point difference in employee experience when work schedules are flexible and a 35 percentage point difference in employee experience when employees have an opportunity to recharge when they are not at work. For employees who work in an office, make sure you offer a healthy work environment.

The third area that corresponds to an award-winning culture is recognition and appreciation. Gallup recently released its State of the American Workplace report, which outlines the 12 elements of engagement based on data collected from more than 195,600 United States employees. The fourth element relates to recognition and praise. Only 3 in 10 employees strongly agree with the statement: “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.” The report reads:

Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely as those who do feel adequately recognized to say they’ll quit in the next year. And given the low number of employees who strongly agree with this element, it may be one of the greatest missed opportunities for leaders and managers to improve engagement and performance. 

Gallup also gives 3 tips for delivering better recognition:

  1. Learn how employees like to be recognized (make it personal).
  2. Praise people for doing good work and achieving their goals while emphasizing why the recognized act was important (this is about values).
  3. Along with leaders, promote a recognition-rich environment with praise coming from multiple sources at multiple times (think peer-to-peer, not just manager-to-employee).

Which programs are you focusing on to improve work culture? Do you agree with our list? Is there anything you would add? Let us know in the comments.

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