For better or worse, most things we want are now within easy reach. Craving a late-night snack? There’s a delivery app on your phone that’ll bring your meal of choice right to your doorstep. Need a quick answer to a question? Your smartphone will yield information in less than a second.
As a society, we now like to get things fast and with minimal effort. Instant gratification is the experience of immediate satisfaction after an action, and we crave it in all areas of our lives — including the workplace.
Instant gratification gets a lot of bad rep. We’re told that the desire for instant satisfaction makes us addicted to our phones and pushes us to choose short-term happiness over long-term success. While these claims may be true, what if there was a way to use instant gratification productively at work?
In this article, we’re going to unpack how instant gratification affects the workplace and ways to use this innate human drive to improve employee engagement and build high-performing teams. Grab a satisfying snack, and let’s dive in.
Instant gratification is the feeling of satisfaction immediately after an action. When you engage in pleasurable activities, your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine makes you feel good, which reinforces the behavior and makes you want to repeat it to feel this way again.
Social media is a popular example of how instant gratification works. The likes, comments, and constant streams of entertaining information on your social media feed act as rewards that immediately trigger dopamine release. As a result, you start wanting to check your social media platforms more and more often.
In the fast-paced environment of the frontline, instant gratification manifests itself in the desire for immediate feedback and frequent recognition. This is especially true for millennial and Gen Z workers, who expect to communicate a lot with their supervisor and be rewarded for achievements on a regular basis.
For many employees, rewards that delay gratification — such as annual reviews and year-end bonuses — are simply not impactful enough anymore. They require long periods of waiting, which makes it hard for your workers to maintain high levels of motivation and engagement on a daily basis.
As a result, defaulting to traditional approaches instead of fulfilling your workforce’s modern need to be frequently recognized can lead to decreased productivity, low retention rates, and burnout.
There’s a lot of negative narrative that surrounds instant gratification, but it can actually be a valuable tool in the workplace. While certain instant gratification-related behaviors can be destructive, there are ways to productively integrate the human desire for instant gratification into an hourly workplace for better engagement and retention.
Modern workers want to know what they’re doing well and where they need to improve. They want to receive frequent, transparent, and informative feedback from their supervisors instead of having to wait for a quarterly or annual meeting to discuss their performance. In fact, 59% of employees report that traditional performance reviews have no impact on the quality of their work.
More and more organizations are turning to continuous performance management with real time communication instead of relying on infrequent and cumbersome reviews. Using a performance management software like Secchi helps frontline leaders communicate quickly and effectively with a built-in text-like messaging feature.
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Creating strong employee recognition programs that provide continuous encouragement is another way to appeal to your team members’ desire for instant gratification and improve their performance. In fact, a well-received recognition program can help you yield 50% higher sales, 27% higher profits, and 21% better retention rates.
The rewards and recognition that you give to your employees don’t have to be big and expensive. Instead, focus on making them meaningful and consistent. Think about the ways you can provide quick feel-good boosts for completing a task throughout your employees’ shifts to reinforce positive behaviors. Gamifying employee rewards is one way to do that.
One of the main reasons why instant gratification permeates modern society today is because of the unprecedented availability of technology. Smartphones, social media platforms, and search engines are what enables quick access to information and immediate satisfaction. So, it’s only beautifully logical to embrace digital tools and use them productively to innovate your performance management process.
Secchi is an hourly performance management software that streamlines communication, enhances connections, and makes it easy to stay consistent with meaningful employee recognition. Use it as a “like” button in your workplace for better engagement and happiness levels.
→ Book a demo to learn more about how Secchi can help you innovate your performance management system.
Contrary to popular belief, instant gratification is not a new phenomenon. It’s natural for human beings to not want to wait and prefer immediate rewards to delayed gratification. Yet, the availability of technology makes instant gratification more routine, further hardwiring it into our brains.
The truth of the matter is that instant gratification can be either a problem or an opportunity. Ignoring your workforce’s desire for more frequent communication and encouragement can result in low morale and poor retention rates. At the same time, embracing instant gratification and learning how to productively integrate it into your daily operations can have the opposite effect.
Using innovative technology to successfully manage the performance of your hourly teams is only going to get more important. Try Secchi today and discover the difference it can make for your frontline organization.
With Secchi, leaders across your entire organization have access to turn-by-turn leadership directions and actionable data that guides them on how to engage their teams through recognition, coaching, engagement, and accountability.
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