Flying the green flag
31st July 2020 – Employees who feel valued are more productive, happier and will go the extra mile for their managers.

This sounds obvious but when you are running a business, and have a lot on your plate, it’s not always easy to find the time and opportunity to congratulate your people on their accomplishments, and thank them for their hard work.

Yet studies have shown that feeling valued ranks alongside pay, benefits and time off as a major contributor to job satisfaction.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), receiving expressions of gratitude can have a massive effect on workplace behaviour. In a field experiment, the authors found that a message of gratitude from a manager led to a significant increase in the number of calls made by a team of university fundraisers.

A separate study by the Journal of Applied Behavioural Science also found that when treated with respect, and trusted to make decisions autonomously, workers’ performance significantly improved. The key takeaway was: “Positivity can foster team member engagement and performance.” It recommended demonstrating “appreciation, affirmation, and respect”.

I am in awe of my incredible team here at BigChange but it’s not enough for me to say that in this blog, I have to show it consistently, every day. This is why, a few years ago, we created our Green Flag Report.

Everyone knows that red flags are a bad thing. We use red flags when we need to resolve an issue outside of our service level. But we have also turned the concept on its head, using the BigChange platform to assign green flags. These are used to highlight exceptional performance, great customer service, or people simply being a great team player.

We are super-users of our own platform, so it has been straightforward to train colleagues to use green flags to tell me and managers about the team’s achievements. Every Sunday, I read each and every one, and send an email to the whole company sharing the highlights and thanking everyone who went the extra mile that week.

It’s been extremely effective at motivating my colleagues: they know that I see how hard they work, and their contribution to this company. It also helps to drive home the vital role that every team plays here: for example, people in sales hear about the incredible work done by engineers out on the road – these individuals may rarely meet in person, if at all.

There are no financial incentives connected to the green flag initiative; it’s separate from our benefits and bonuses. This is about showing people that they are seen, heard, and valued. But it certainly sticks in my mind when I see the same names coming up again and again – those people are likely to go far in the company.

We have made this functionality available to all BigChange customers, free of charge, to help them create the same kind of engagement and culture of gratitude in their teams. There really is nothing like the buzz when people see all their colleagues applauding their efforts. Especially now there is no office and we are all working remotely.

We want to do our bit to help other business owners make their teams feel valued and important, and help unlock productivity now, when it’s needed the most.

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