You have probably heard the expression that it takes 10 positive statements to mend one negative. Research on our brains shows there is science behind this thinking. Not the 1 in 10 ratio, but the fact that positive experiences boost brain dopamine and boosting brain dopamine has the impact of making people feel better. Feeling better can translate into more energy, which, in the workplace can lead to better productivity, fewer errors, better customer services and better employee relationships.
Unfortunately our brains have a ‘negativity bias’, that means we are predisposed to notice and attend to negative information (part of our evolutionary survival mechanisms). To over come this you have to make a conscious effort to overcome the unconscious bias.
In a 2012 ‘Canada’s Pulse of Talent’ survey from Ceridian Canada 75% of Canadian employees indicated that feeling valued makes them feel secure in their job, however only 56%, of Canadian employees reported being satisfied with the level of recognition they are receiving at work.
According research from Carrot Culture employee recognition by management was a powerful accelerator for success. They asked employees the question ‘My Organization Recognizes Excellence’ and discovered a solid correlation between those who reported that their organization recognized excellence and return on equity (ROE encompasses profitability, asset management and financial leverage), Return on Assets (ROA, fiscal earnings divided by total assets) and Operating Margin (operating income to sales).
It is possible to have too much of a good thing? Yes. Constant praise dulls the impact of the dopamine boosting brain experience. As with everything in life we need to balance our cookies and pizza with yogurt and salad.
The general take away from the data is that spending time offering praise on a weekly basis can be a cost effective way to boost employee’s productivity and it can translate to your bottom line business success.
Ceridian Canada’s Pulse of Talent Second Edition
Performance Accelerated: A New Benchmark for Initiating Employee Engagement, Retention and Results: by Carrot Culture