I bet just about all of us would say that we were raised to believe that pride was a negative emotion which we should work to tamp down; moreover, that we should strive to be as humble as possible. While there is certainly well-intended wisdom found in these kinds of ideas, it’s also a disservice to one of our (humanity’s) natural feelings, a tool we all possess, one that is far from entirely negative.

Pride is an incentive created by our minds to help us value the future, it is a powerful virtue that encourages diligence and devotion to a goal or purpose.

Applying this idea in the business world and our work lives, we ask: Is there a direct correlation between pride and success?

Pride is an incentive created by our minds to help us value the future, it is a powerful virtue that encourages diligence and devotion to a goal or purpose.
Employee Pride

According to Dr. David DeSteno, Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, author of Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion and Pride, and host of a TEDX talk on the subject, a controlled study demonstrated that people who felt proud of their work devoted 40 percent more time to building their skills.

Dr. DeSteno and his colleagues’ research tracked motivation and success by assigning participants various “tasks” and types of feedback (positive, negative, social/peer, superior/manager, and no feedback at all).

Only those who were provided social feedback or employee recognition proved to do better in their work. Furthermore, “self-efficacy (belief in one’s own ability to produce a successful outcome) didn’t appear to play a role. In fact, those who believed in themselves/their abilities prior, didn’t succeed to any greater degree than those who received no feedback at all.”

The results suggest that we (people) need acknowledgement and encouragement from our peers in order to achieve our best performance and highest goals.

A controlled study demonstrated that people who felt proud of their work devoted 40 percent more time to building their skills.
The Power of Employee Pride

Recognition makes us feel good, confident, even prideful.

So, how can employers help increase employees’ pride in themselves and therefore their work? Here’s two of the most paramountly important actions we (Online Rewards) see in successful workplaces today:

  • Define your company’s purpose and goals, clearly.
  • Don’t assume your employees know when they’re doing well.
    • First, no news (meaning, recognition) isn’t good news, and only bad news (criticism, constructive or otherwise) is an even worse approach. Recognition through regular, positive manger-to-peer and peer-to-peer levels (along with the constructive stuff!) creates a bed in which pride will bloom and flourish. 

Employee rewards programs provide a space for public acknowledgement and appreciation, easily accessible to all. Pride is a powerful incentive and making it one of the rewards for helping your company achieve its purpose and goals will prove a remarkably positive influence on your success.

Interested in learning how Online Rewards can build an employee rewards program and plan for your organization to promote pride in the workplace? Reach out for a conversation today.