In line with the launch of the IoIC's new long-term initiative #WeMatterAtWork – a campaign which aims to uncover the factors which make people feel valued in their workplace – this month's AskFutureNet call was an opportunity for members of the network to share the ways that they're already ensuring people feel that they matter as well as finding out how they can increase that feeling via their internal comms. The call was co-hosted by Lucy Aaron, Content Creator at Marston's, and Andrew Cannon, Internal Communications Manager at Thames Water.
There were a few key themes that emerged from our discussion around the factors that internal communicators try to embed in their organisations to ensure people feel valued, as well as those which they themselves appreciate:
Perhaps the most spoken word during the call was recognition. From award nominations and shout outs on social media, to thank you cards or just a quiet word from a colleague or senior leader, the importance of feeling recognised for a job well done was something that we all agreed held huge power in ensuring people feeling valued.
It was unanimously agreed that it's the small gestures that go the longest way when it comes to recognition and we even heard from Harriet Small, Internal Communications Manager at Sky, that she found that colleagues in her area of the business preferred to be recognised in private as opposed to being put in the spotlight.
Interestingly, though, when we asked our Twitter followers this week which qualities were most important to them in the workplace, only 15% voted for recognition and reward:
The Engage for Success website has a number of resources on embedding recognition in your organisation, including this podcast with John McVeigh, President of OC Tanner.
Acknowledgement of personal attributes
We had an interesting discussion around whether, when it comes to feeling valued at work, we placed more importance on feeling valued as an individual and what you personally bring to the workplace, or on the value that we feel is placed on our professional role and its impact on organisational performance.
It was generally agreed that, ideally, the two go hand in hand and if you feel that your organisation values your personal attributes, you'll likely feel more engaged and produce better and therefore higher value work.
Taking the time to better understand colleagues as individuals might just unlock knowledge of personal attributes which, when nurtured, enable them to feel more comfortable, engaged, productive and creative. It might be as simple as going for a coffee with a colleague and finding out a bit more about them and their preferences, or taking a personality type test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, as a team and using the results to work out how you can better cater to your colleagues' preferences.
We all know that enabling positive mental health and well-being is high on the organisational agenda, and rightly so. Research conducted by Health and Safety Executive states that, the total number of working days lost due to work related stress, depression and anxiety in 2017/2018 was a staggering 15.4 million.
David Mayers, Internal Communications Officer at StepChange Debt Charity, told us about the charity's employee assistance programme which is there to support colleagues who often have to deal with challenging conversations, as well as the introduction of quiet rooms where team members can go to take a few minutes to themselves and mental health first aiders.
The next face to face FutureNet event will focus on mental health and well-being in the workplace and will give members the opportunity to collaboratively create hypothetical campaigns as well as share their learnings following Mental Health Awareness Week (13 – 19 May 2019). Find out more and book your place here.
What is it that makes you feel that you matter at work? Do you agree that, when it comes to recognition, it's the small gestures that make the biggest difference? Or do you want that big shout out from your senior leaders and to see your name in lights? Do you feel the most valued when a colleague takes the time to understand who you are as an individual and tries to cater to your preferences? Or does value come in the form of respecting your privacy at work?
Join the #WeMatterAtWork conversation and let us know what's most important to you when it comes to feeling valued. You can share your thoughts on social media, write a blog for us, record a video, write a story, or maybe use your creative talents to draw what feeling valued looks like to you.