Recognise This! – Research shows “givers” deliver more to the bottom line than “takers,” so fostering a culture of giving is critical to success.

Globoforce has started a series of Q&A interviews with notable authors, researchers and academics. These are terrific, concise summaries of some of the latest, more impactful research in the employee motivation, recognition, performance and engagement space, so I will share my favorite excerpts with you as they become available.

First, from Adam Grant, professor at Wharton School of Business, is his book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. In the book, Grant provides details on his research on reciprocity, specifically on three types of people – givers (those who proactively seek to help others), takers (those how want to get more than their fair share), and matchers (those who equally give and take).

From the full Globoforce Q&A, my favorite excerpts include:

Q: You have studied productivity quite a bit and try to look at some keys to being successful, and one of the theses of the book is that people who are extremely helpful to others turn out to be some of the most successful people. Can you talk briefly about why that is? 

Adam Grant: There are many reasons, but let’s start with two. One: If you’re a helpful and generous person, you end up exchanging ideas and information with a much wider array of people, which can boost creativity and innovation. Two: When you are helpful and generous with your time and knowledge, there’s a lot of goodwill that’s created, and over time, since most people are matchers, that goodwill often gets repaid.

Q: If you’re an executive or a manager and you’re trying to instill certain values and behaviours into your people, what are some of the best ways to do that?

Adam Grant: I think role modeling is one of the most powerful influences. It’s important for leaders to spend some of their time and energy helping others. In addition to role modeling how to be helpful, we also need leaders to model asking for help.

Beyond role modeling, the employee selection process matter. You might want to try to screen in givers, but even more importantly, you want to screen out takers. And then also, you need to figure out ways to recognise, reward and promote people when they have a track record of being helpful and generous.

Q: As you know, we build peer-to-peer recognition and reward platforms for companies in which an employee can formally recognise another employee for his or her good work. In light of your research, what kind of impact do you think that has on the person who nominates someone else for recognition?

Adam Grant: This is actually a really interesting question—what is the best way to appreciate and acknowledge people for their generous behaviours? I think peers often give the most honest appraisal of what their peers are really like. So I’m a huge fan of peer recognition in general and I’d like to see more organisations doing it. And it’s not only beneficial to the employees who receive peer recognition and rewards. Providing employees with the opportunity to grant recognition and rewards to their peers is a natural way to enable them to express their giver instincts.

These are strong, powerful lessons from Dr. Grant that anyone can incorporate into their workplaces:  Giving delivers better results than taking. Model the giving behaviours you want to see. Recognise and reward those who get “giving” right. Empower everyone to become better givers.

Does your organisation have more givers or takers? Which are you?