I would like to begin my post by stating that I really enjoy coaching as well as writing and I welcome any and all feedback – whether challenging my position or just complimenting my work. Recently I received a comment from a reader of one of my posts – well actually, it was more that the reader commented that reading my posts generated a few questions which were posed in the comment:
How can affirmation be used as a strategic HR tool to elevate employee confidence and productivity?
How could such be measured?
My supposition for the answers to these questions is based on my interpretation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs applied to Employee Affinity and my readings, my observations as an employee, consultant, and coach. I use the term Employee Affinity to describe the employee’s ability to associate and align with the company which translates into high level engagement.
In my version of the needs pyramid displayed here, the use of affirmation becomes useful as a HR Tool in the Esteem phase of the needs satisfaction. Once all Belonging, Safety, and Physiological needs have been met, then an employee is able to benefit from the value that an affirmation tool can provide.
I enjoy the use of anecdotes and stories to communicate and will share how a former employer applied affirmation as a tool to elevate employee confidence and productivity. As an online E-Tailer founded in the late 1990s with a nearly “Dotcom” mentality for corporate culture, this fast growing organization forged the culture and leadership style of delivering value and commitment to results – evidenced by continued corporate growth, commitment and passion – seen in customer testimonials of praise.
To foster this energy, employees were encouraged to learn the mission statement which detailed the purpose for being in business and the value offered to the customer. The CEO would often walk the halls, randomly stopping employees and asking them to recite the mission statement. There was not a punishment for failing to complete the task with the CEO often assisting the employee by jovially lip-synching the words; however, there was a reward upon successful completion which included a company lapel pin, the magnetic kind, and a cash gift from the CEO’s wallet! Although the cash and the lapel pin were very small rewards, the end result was tremendous – it was an organization which comprehended specifically how value was delivered to the customer. This knowledge increased employee confidence in the organization and motivated employees to be productive because each person understood how their personal effort contributed to customer satisfaction.
One More Anecdote
For as long as I have been alive, I have seen affirmation used at least five days a week in the educational system in the United States of America. Beginning at age 4 we start our school day by reciting what?????
That’s right, The Pledge Of Allegiance
What results from years of reciting The Pledge Of Allegiance you ask? What is the confidence and productivity which results from this affirmation – The answer is clear, National pride and confidence in the United States of America. The supporting evidence, enrollment in our national military and the desire of many to protect and serve our country.
In an organizational environment, increases in productivity are often measured through performance appraisals. Specifically each individual can evaluated through self-review, peer review, and manager review. This 360 performance appraisal should inform HR on any improvements resultant from the use of affirmation.
Organizationally, HR departments often use “Happiness” or Employee Satisfaction Surveys to annually measure the levels of confidence, pride, and other factors. Recently, use of NPS, Net Promoter Score, survey systems have been implemented to elicit feedback less intrusively, more regularly, and more timely with the occurrence of an event.
In my opinion, the affirmation approach may also be applied to the corporate initiative level for a specified organizational objective – like a project, new product launch, or transformation. The ability to get employees to buy into the initiative is supported through affirmation of the goals, vision, or mission of the initiative. Instead of driving employees to “increased revenue” or “record quarter earnings” – no one gets too excited about those goals; companies should seek to tie into employee WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) and craft an affirmation statement which supports the revenue goal through value to the customer and the employee.
There are many ways that affirmations may be used. Not only are they great tools for individuals seeking to improve their performance, but if constructed properly can be useful in motivating entire companies as well as nations! Contact Coach Clinton to work with you to develop and implement our custom Motivation Affirmation.