“We used to leave our jobs because the factory closed. Today, we leave jobs because we aren’t being recognised”
Ester Perel, the best selling author on modern relationships, was an interesting choice of keynote speaker for the opening day of Workhuman Live 2023. Her research puts her in a good position to look our wider relationships, including the ones we have with work. She told us that we used to leave marriages because we wanted to be happy – now we leave them because we believe we could be happier. She then continued on to the world of work with the quote at the start.
There has been a change in how, when, where, and why we work. Previously we would have stayed with an organisation for most of our careers, but now we don’t just look for stability, but for different things such as how we are treated, the opportunities that may be available, the connections we build with colleagues and management. Most research that I have seen in recent years has shown that the top reason for joining – and staying – with an organisation is having the opportunity to to grow, develop and learn new skills. We want to be recognised for who we are and what we can achieve. Connection is important, with Ester telling us how relational energy is crucial to unleashing the potential within everyone inside an organisation.
The themes of Workhuman Live 2023 were very much around humanity, energy and respect. Workhuman CEO Eric Mosley opened the conference by talking about bringing humanity back to the workplace. Their research showed almost half of our workforces (43%) feel invisible, unseen, and feel like they don’t matter. Simple regular recognition can make employees 5 times less likely to leave, and 5 times more likely to see growth opportunities. Regular recognition can cut employee turnover in half. Humanity in the workplace also helps improve wellbeing, mental health and resilience. We need to let people bring ‘who they are’ to work and not expect them to leave it at the door.
Recognition also impacts the giver, not just the receiver. Research showed that those who had given recognition in the previous 2 months were more likely to love their job, recommend their company to others, be highly engaged and say they have a positive work experience. After the period of change and uncertainty for individuals and businesses that has followed the Covid pandemic and current global cost of living concerns, it is the stability that leadership can bring which many need. It was concerning to see research that found 43% of employees feeling invisible at work – employees who don’t feel seen, feel like they don’t matter.
Energy was also at the forefront. Speaker Geoff McDonald told us: “Your people aren’t the most important asset. The energy of your people is your most important asset. We cannot be energised without being healthy, physically and mentally, so why isn’t wellbeing a strategic priority?”. Whilst author Simon Alexander Ong asked us: “Why are you holding your most important meetings on Mondays when we know energy won’t be as high that day?”.
Maybe HR teams can provide the answer – although one of my favourite event quotes, from HR legend Steve Browne, sounded an appropriate word of warning – “If people say “I have to go to HR” you are not part of the company. You’re outside the company”
The Workhuman conference itself was as enlightening, motivating and through provoking as ever. And this year I was also able to record 2 podcast interviews in my ‘HR Means Business’ series to dive deeper into the research and analysis around the power of recognition.
What Experience Are Our Employees Getting at Work?
For the last 15 years, Workhuman have produced research on the Evolution of Work. This year I was able to chat with Senior Research & People Data Analyst Isha Vicaria about the latest findings.
The key points in our conversation are:
- Importance of recognising employee work preferences
- Finding flow when mixing office & remote locations
- The value of Employee Resource Groups
- The need for psychological safety at work
- Being human at work
- Managing stress
Helping Business Leaders to Understand the Power of Recognition
Sometimes one of the most difficult parts of implementing recognition programmes is to get full leadership buy in. For my second podcast I spoke with practice leader Brenda Pohlman about the best way to achieve this.
The key points from our conversation are:
- How technology can erode the personal
- Why recognition needs its own currency
- The problem with cash awards
- Specificity of recognition messages
- Creating recognition experiences
- Detail matters for real engagement
Hope you enjoy the conversations. There was a committed, energetic, knowledgeable and downright fun group of bloggers, analysts and influencers at Workhuman Live 2023 – not least from the Humareso team! – so make sure you also check out:
Visibility and Intention: Talking about #WHLive2023 (Humareso)
Workhuman Live 2023 Recap (Humareso)
Workhuman Live 2023 Recap (Sarah Morgan)