Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The importance of recognition

As emphasised in last week’s edition, the culture of an organisation is the critical success factor to the execution of a company’s strategy. Therefore, understanding and positively influencing the behaviours of those who impact a company’s culture is imperative in order to generate a desired state. 
While we have delved into the one of many theories, Maslow’s theory of motivation, underlying our Workpoints platform. This week we would like to share a few more insights with you regarding Maslow, in particular regarding the Belonging and Esteem levels.

When investigated further, we see that these two levels can be directly influenced through Workpoints, our modern day recognition programme.
Belonging, according to Maslow (1943) is a lower end need. The importance of keeping the lower order needs of the individual satisfied is that it releases him or her to pursue higher order needs which relate to social goals (Maslow, 1943). For example, in most cases, only once an individual fulfills the need to feel a part of the team, will he or she take on more challenging tasks within the team. 
The needs associated with the Esteem level can be grouped into two sections namely; a) strength, achievement, adequacy, confidence in the face of the world, independence and freedom and b) The desire for reputation, prestige, recognition, attention, importance, appreciation (Maslow, 1943, p.381-382). Maslow (1943) describes that meeting the needs of Esteem will allow an individual to experience feelings of confidence, worth, strength, capability, adequacy and usefulness.
So how do we connect these two levels with modern day recognition you ask? Our social timeline, our peer-to-peer recognition and our leaderboard components of Workpoints help us make the connection. These elements are often referred to as gamification elements or otherwise known as the concept of “using data to move behaviour” (Hein, 2013).

Our social timeline allows all employees to see the in’s and out’s of the organisation. Who has achieved what and who has awarded to whom. Most importantly, if their name appears on this timeline, the entire organisation will be able to recognise their hard work.

Our peer-to-peer component facilitates point transactions between colleagues. Not only does this enable employees to thank and be thanked, but it fosters a culture of team engagement.

Our leaderboard enables anyone on the programme to see who has earned the most points for the week, the month or the quarter. We can only imagine the sense of accomplishment should an employee see his or her name at the top of this list.
These three elements appeal to employee’s intrinsic human desires for personal achievement, social status, self-expression, community, closure and competition (Hein, 2013). And yes, you made the link, these descriptions are almost identical to those of Maslow’s two levels discussed above.  
Ultimately, when we apply Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to organisations, it becomes a powerful tool in understanding the motivation and needs of employees. It enables leadership to understand human behaviour in order to create a high performing culture – a culture all companies are out to achieve. 

With the right knowledge of the needs of an individual, we can make our best effort to create an environment where certain behaviours become preferred.

Jillian Dabbs (MCom Industrial Psychology)

Jillian is a part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our content developer, our avid blogger as well as our party planner.
Estée Roodt (MCom Industrial Psychology)

Estée is part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our keen researcher, our problem-solver and our number one sports star.

Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. Visit for more info and a free trial!


Hein, R. (2013). How to Use Gamification to Engage Employees.
Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(13), 370–396.

1 comment:

  1. Recognising someone's hardwork in good words have great effect on that person. It compells him to try harder & produce more good result. A little appreciation can make someone's day.