According to Maslow’s pyramid, among the fundamental human needs without the fulfillment of which a person is unable to function properly (the so-called first-order needs) are physiological needs (hunger, thirst. warmth, etc.) and security. These elements are necessary for the fulfillment of higher-order needs, namely love and belonging, respect and self-actualization. Of particular merit in this area is social recognition, which most individuals in their lives strive for, but not all can achieve. What does this process consist of, and for what reason do we care so much that others – especially superiors or co-workers in the workplace – notice and respect us?
Social recognition in the workplace – table of contents:
- Social recognition – what does it consist of?
- What does social recognition at work entail?
- Why do we care about the recognition of others at work?
- How to enhance social recognition?
- Social recognition in the workplace – summary
Social recognition – what does it consist of?
Social recognition refers to the process by which an individual acknowledges (in any form – verbal, written, by his or her behavior, etc.) that another person has a certain “value,” leading to acceptance of that person as, for example, an authority or member of a group (at school, on a course, in the workplace). By the same token, it means noticing and appreciating us as individuals – our actions, achievements, ideas, personality, the qualities that distinguish us or the way we approach the performance of our duties. Most often, it manifests itself in praise (e.g., on a team or company-wide forum), admiration for the results of work or treatment as a member of a group (belonging).
What does social recognition at work entail?
Social recognition at work can be linked to several factors touching on different aspects of daily functioning and affecting how employees view their work and professional relationships. Strengthening or popularizing them is one of the steps leading to employees feeling more comfortable in the workplace – thus performing their duties with greater commitment and motivation. Among the most important elements of recognition are:
- feedback – feedback (positive, but also negative, expressed in the form of constructive criticism) is the best way to provide an employee with a clear picture of his performance and help him understand what he can do to improve his performance,
- rewards and recognition – awarding performance bonuses, giving promotions, organizing additional learning opportunities are just examples of situations where an employee can feel that he or she is respected by the company community,
- the quality of interpersonal relations – employees who have good relationships with colleagues and superiors feel better about the company, which makes work results better,
- organizational culture – companies that promote openness, employee involvement and respect for diversity create a work environment where each individual can feel valuable.
Why do we care about the recognition of others at work?
Why is social recognition so important to people? Because despite their role (parent, child, consumer or employee), how others relate to them and what opinion they hold significantly affects their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. To fully thrive and develop professionally in an appropriate way, employees need to feel that their efforts and achievements are appreciated by their superiors or teammates. Such situations improve their self-esteem, increase motivation to work and strengthen relationships in the team, leading to greater profits for the company as a whole. On the other hand, the opposite situation may result in feelings of rejection, isolation and loneliness, which can consequently cause serious problems in the area of both physical and mental health.
How to enhance social recognition?
Employers and managers must acknowledge the role of social recognition at work – especially in the area of the negative impacts to which its absence can lead (low self-esteem, lack of motivation to work, etc.). It is their responsibility to foster the appropriate well-being of employees, which they can do by taking care of regular feedback, recognizing achievements (through financial or other rewards), investing in development or building an organizational culture based on respect and support. Implementing such elements translates into benefits for each individual, but also for the company as a whole – as it gains more engaged and motivated employees, which positively affects productivity and leads to the achievement of set goals.
Social recognition in the workplace – summary
Every human individual – no matter which group he or she currently belongs to – will always strive to feel comfortable in each of them. Seeking the respect of others is an intrinsic part of human nature, something that any leader managing a larger or smaller team should be well aware of. As a manager with a group of several or a dozen people, you are responsible for ensuring that each employee – the most essential resource of a company in any industry – does not feel isolated, frustrated or lonely in the workplace. Provide them with the right conditions for their daily functioning, such as with the tactics we mentioned above, and you’ll instantly see the positive results it brings about.