Data has shown that happy employees produce more and accomplish more. It is an exciting age to be in. We have gone from Ford creating the standard eight hour work day to beginning to harness the creativity, individuality and diversity of our employees to benefit our companies. The challenge is for business leaders to figure out how to leverage culture to allow employees to become innovative and provide superior service, while managing the cost for something that can often be difficult to measure.

Solarity created what we call Solarian Salutes, which is a digital form that employees can fill out to recognize a fellow employee’s extraordinary service. Then the form immediately goes out via email to all of our employees. When we first started putting this together, there were some questions to be answered. One of them being, what happens if an employee fills out something negative and it goes out to all of our employees? No one is monitoring these before they go out, which was a risk we decided to take. And the response has been huge. My email has at least three Solarian Salutes in the inbox every single day. What we have found is that this culture of recognizing one another has been a key way for us to hold each other accountable and encourage each other to live and breathe our core values.

Studies on behavioral economics show that when you set a standard, such as a code of honor or ethics for a group, that people will act more ethically. Companies are moving towards more simple ways to communicate how we want our people to act. Solarity has also embraced that movement by defining nine core values. However, the bigger the organization, the more difficult it becomes to set a standard of behavior or remind people of your core values. It needs to be ingrained in your culture, so that employees themselves are communicating those expectations. And that is where the Solarian Salutes has been the best free investment we have ever made.

They cost us nothing to set up, other than the three hours for our marketing department to create the form and design. Solarian Salutes use our email platform we already were paying for. This has truly shown to be a wonderful tool as we have continued to invest in our employee culture and find new ways that we can create a place where people love what they do and provide extraordinary service to our members, fellow employees and community. If you work for a company who is on a similar journey, I highly recommend you start the conversation about how you can connect your employees to recognize each other for acts of service and for living your core values. I can say that for me, it has provided a constant reminder of our core values, why I work here, and never fails to bring a smile to face.