Desiree Martinello
Executive & HR Administrator / Office Manager
September 26, 2017

The Why Behind Recognition

Sure, there are lots of ways to recognize employees (and we talk about a lot of them), but do you know why people need to be recognized? We recently spoke about the IRF’s behavioral economics research and how to apply that to your business. The neuroscience behind behavioral economics can help us understand why we should recognize people.

As a quick background, behavioral economics helps employers understand what motivates their employees. The research tells us that behavioral economics, “Integrates social, cognitive, and emotional factors to more fully explain human decision-making biases and challenges long-held traditional economics assumptions.” These assumptions include the notion that decision-making is rational, as opposed to emotional. Neuroeconomics digs a little deeper to reveal some really interesting findings in the human brain.

Perhaps the most important finding so far, is that all forms of rewarding someone are processed in “the brain’s master reward center, the striatum, and are experienced as rewarding feelings.” Neurons are fired when an employee is rewarded or recognized, which creates positive emotions, feelings, or associations. The more highly positive experiences someone has throughout their time with a company or organization, the more positive emotion that person will associate with it. By rewarding and recognizing employees (both tangibly and intangibly), you are creating and building those emotions and associations to the “job well done.” These emotional stamps trigger the employee to relate their hard work to the recognition, which in turn, as we know, is beneficial for everyone. Individual productivity is increased, office climate is improved which fosters better teamwork, greater employee satisfaction… the list goes on. The more it happens, the more it will continue to happen and become the norm within your organization.

IRF.com: Translating the Neuroscience of Behavioral Economics into Employee Engagement. May 25, 2017.

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