THE BLOG

5 Ways to Bring Humanity Into the Workplace

05/29/2015 10:22 am ET | Updated May 29, 2016

Enlightened, successful organizations understand that people are at the core of their success. Decades of experiments have proven that happy employees are better at creative problem solving, which drives engagement and financial results. And engaged employees are more likely to stay at companies for the long haul.

What do people need to feel fulfilled at work? At the most basic level, people want to come to work happy and leave happy. They look for meaning and value at work, and want to understand how their efforts help their company succeed. They need camaraderie, friendship and meaning -- to stay connected to and engaged with their colleagues. They crave recognition for their contributions to the organization.

Results from Globoforce's Fall 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker Survey show that 89 percent of workers feel that work relationships are important to their quality of life. According to the survey, 78 percent of people spend 30-50 hours a week at work, while only 24 percent spend that much time with their families. All of this culminates in the need for a workplace defined by humanity, something many companies fail to embrace as a core value. It's time to change that and double down on the human side of work.

Here are five ways to bring more humanity into the workplace:

Say Thank You

William James, one of the founders of modern psychology, wrote in 1896, "The deepest principle of Human Nature is the craving to be appreciated." The simple act of saying thank you openly and often creates a bond between giver and receiver and breaks through social barriers so that loyalty, trust and dedication can flow more freely. When employers empower their people to recognize one another's contributions, a groundswell of gratitude emerges. Saying thank you also identifies and encourages the right behaviors, inspiring a shared purpose and vision.

Nurture a Culture of Trust

A workplace that becomes happy and stays happy is no accident -- it's created with intent and purpose. While you can't make people come to work happy, you can support a culture that encourages people to be their best, most positive selves. In a positivity dominated workplace fueled by recognition, employees and managers are encouraging each other, learning from successes and failures, noticing and celebrating behaviors that embody company values. This results in a culture defined by trust. China Gorman, the CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute, describes a great workplace as "one which employees trust management, enjoy camaraderie with fellow workers, and feel pride in their work.

Recognize Generational Differences

We now have three distinct generations in the workplace, each with a unique take on how work can achieve personal and professional goals. Multigenerational workforces succeed when a single set of cultural values unites people in their work while accommodating different needs. Identifying these needs, creating a dialogue, making connections and finding similarities is key to embracing generational differences and achieving success.

Create a Culture of Recognition

By creating a culture of recognition through a consistent peer-to-peer program, workers feel more valued and motivated to do great work. It creates a community of support and positivity. Take the program a step further and broadcast moments recognition throughout the company. As people are recognized and give recognition, a contagious energy emerges and the act of celebrating people's achievements becomes a fixture in the culture.

Embrace the Social Workplace

We stay at work for the people. Work friendships and colleague support are the bedrock of our work experience as our work becomes increasingly interdependent, with all kinds of expertise needed at different stages of a project. By leveraging social technology as the driving force behind a recognition program, you can create and amplify a culture of positive, validating and motivating communication that helps those relationships thrive.

Eric Mosley is the CEO of Globoforce, a social recognition firm and the company that created the conference WorkHuman: Unlock the Future of The Human Workplace taking place in Orlando, Florida June 8-10th 2015.