Close your eyes for a minute and go back to when you were three years old. When mom or dad said “good job baby” for being able to identify pictures in your favorite book, you were over the moon. Having been recognized for this achievement, you wanted to do it over and over again…Correct?
Flash forward to many years later to today, except for the one off “please get this done urgently” or just a “thanks” in passing, we don’t get much recognition beyond that at our workplace.
It’s a basic human need to be recognized and rewarded.
Feedback, recognition and reward are what make your company a great workplace. As employees you like to work for a company that offers competitive salaries, work life balance, comfortable work environment and a leader who can motivate you, keep you engaged and help you achieve company goals and personal career objectives.
Keeping employees engaged is a key result area for leaders [i] and an important HR practice.
According to the Corporate Leadership Council (2004), a company can drive engagement by following three C’s
Connections can be built by calling people by their first names and extending a warm and open attitude, contribution is enhanced by recognizing and valuing ideas by colleagues and team members and credibility is gained by treating employees with dignity, and respect, not discriminating but making people feel included.
All three C’s must work together, towards building an inclusive work environment and culture.
As a leader you want to make a difference in the organization so begin by appreciating the value of the three C’s. You could start by calling your colleagues by their first name irrespective of age, gender, race or hierarchical position.
To get everyone to do so, you need to model the way and set the example. You may very well be the initiator of a culture change in your organization. Start using PLEASE; you may get a smile and higher performance in return.
To further this performance and engagement, it becomes important to recognize employee contribution. A formal HR/organizational practice is to introduce ‘rewards and recognition’ programs.
This concept has moved beyond traditional compensation mechanisms of offering, quick and simple thanks to include physical and mental well being. This program recognizes and values an employee’s contribution to the organization. As a leader you can influence this to an extent.
The last C for credibility is simple. Don’t discriminate but value people for who they are and what they bring to the organization. Workplace discrimination takes place when workers are singled out and treated unfairly. Discrimination [ii] could occur on the basis of:
- Race or color
- Age (baby boomers versus Gen Y)
- Political opinion
- Marital status
- Disability status
- Ethnic background
- Social background
- Other factors such as HIV status, obesity, caste
There is much work to be done to reduce workplace discrimination globally. Anti-discrimination laws do exist and are taken very seriously in the Western world.
I have had the opportunity to work in India and Australia and wish to share my observations.
I have had no problem in either country with discrimination…at least overtly. There is discrimination in both counties as far as research, surveys and statistics is concerned. But, I find a difference in the treatment of employees.
In Australia, work culture accepts that life is beyond work, employees are not taken for granted and there is emphasis on ‘caring’. What stands out for me is that an Aussie leader has always taken care to pronounce and spell my name correctly.
It’s an Indian name that was often misspelled and mispronounced in India and the pleases and thank yous extended to me here has been phenomenal. Also, I am valued for the work I do, not my accent, background or color. There have been media articles about racial discrimination in Australia, but having lived, studied and worked here, I beg to differ.
So, I would add another C to the above three. C for concern… Please show a genuine involvement and care in the career enhancement and work performance of your colleagues and help them along the way.
And don’t forget your P’s and Q’s, it goes a long way…Thank you!
[ii] Workplace discrimination a global problem
[iii] Sexual harassment discrimination