I follow several dozen news sites and blogs dedicated to HR, leadership, management, and employee recognition and appreciation. Out of these sites, there are a few that stand above the rest – my “go-to” sites for thoughtful analysis of industry research and insightful responses to trends. One of those sites is Bret Simmons’ blog on Positive Organizational Behavior.
One such insightful post Bret wrote last week on new research in the Journal of Applied Psychology on high performance HR systems, employee attitude and group performance. The full research is certainly worth a read, finding:
“The study demonstrates that building an effective HR system may have a powerful influence on the attitudes and behaviors of individual employees. Not only is this likely to create a more positive work place environment but it also seems to have an influence on departmental performance… This highlights the importance of not just managing based upon results but also paying attention to the role that attitudes and behaviors play in creating better results.”
While that finding is interesting enough, it’s Bret’s take on it that I find compelling:
“If your employees are not performing as well as you would like, it’s very likely because they are not very satisfied with their jobs and committed to the organization. Their lack of satisfaction and commitment is most likely a result of a crappy HR practice or system of practices. Stop blaming employees and fix the systems if you want to improve attitudes, behaviors and performance.”
I look at it this way. The attitudes (and behaviors) of employees are like a fluid filling a container – the attitude will swell to fill the culture provided. It’s up to leadership to create the appropriate “culture vessel.” A culture of recognition is the most powerful approach to positively and frequently reinforce desired employee behaviors and attitudes (ideally based on your company values). The system most likely to achieve this culture is strategic recognition in which such habits of detailed appreciation are encouraged, tracked and reported.
What kind of “culture vessel” are you creating for your employees?