Building a Culture of Gratitude through Social Media Interaction

Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission from Plastics Business.

by Brittany Willes, contributing writer, Plastics Business

There is no denying that with technological advancements come great benefits. However, there often are unintended drawbacks as well. When it comes to communication mechanisms like social media, the very platforms that are meant to bring people together often result in users being less present in their daily lives. This even extends to the workplace, as many companies are finding. So, how can business leaders engage their employees and cultivate a workforce culture revolving around engagement and teamwork? Plastic injection molder Revere Plastics Systems, LLC, Novi, Michigan, has found a way of incorporating social media into its company culture with positive results.

Wanting to improve its fragmented human resources, payroll and benefits communication systems, Revere opted to implement a new system in 2020 – Paylocity, a cloud-based payroll and human capital management software system. In addition to bridging Revere’s human resources gaps, Paylocity came with an unexpected feature that would make a lasting impact on Revere’s company culture.

“Once everyone was registered in the new system, they were able to access their paycheck through the computer or by downloading the app,” explained Kristi Stuetzer, vice president of HR. “The new system had an integrated tool called Community – similar to Facebook – where employees could interact with each other.” Through the Community page, employees discovered they could give one another awards – called Impressions – for various tasks, such as going above and beyond on a certain project, wearing appropriate PPE, for continuous improvement and more.

“They actually discovered the feature without any rollout or marketing from management and began to use it,” she continued. “It was organic through our own team, and it was a neat process to see unfold.” Once an employee has been awarded an Impression, it is posted on the Community page for the receiver to see – along with everyone else. From there, other employees are able to leave comments and further positive encouragement.

Seeing the employees eagerly awarding one another for positive actions, management quickly realized it had a powerful tool at its disposal that it could use to further celebrate the team while tailoring it to Revere’s specific needs.

“Initially, we just used the original Impressions provided by Paylocity,” Stuetzer said. “However, we were able to adjust those and introduce items for the Impressions that are directly from our score card as a manufacturer. We measure ourselves on safety, quality, delivery, cost, etc. So, now we offer Safety Impressions and Delivery Impressions, along with the standard Thank You Impressions to further build our commitment to being grateful to each other.”

In an effort to continue to encourage and celebrate employees’ efforts, Revere took the Impressions program a step further – from virtual to real-world gratitude. “We created a virtual store,” said Stuetzer. “Once employees earn so many Impressions, they can turn them in for a rebate or coupon to buy things in the store, like hoodies, backpacks, T-shirts, hats, mugs, etc.” It is just one more way for Revere and its employees to reap the rewards of their own positive actions.

Furthermore, Revere is able to track and record employee activity though the system. The last week of every month, Impressions are tracked and grouped from the most to least given. This, in turn, ensures that Revere’s Employee of the Month, Quarter and Year programs are peer-driven, leaving no room for error.

“To date, thousands of Impressions have been awarded without management even asking,” said Stuetzer. “People look forward to them. They want to know they’re making a difference. Even our CEO comments on the Impressions, and that matters to people. It has been an amazing experience.”

“Recognition is a form of gratitude,” said Glen Fish, CEO. “When people show gratitude, it creates a positive environment that becomes infectious and makes people want to do more good things.”

Creating an environment centered on gratitude and teamwork certainly has paid off for Revere in many ways. In addition to increasing employee engagement, the company has seen its production increase across the board while showing continued improvement in areas of safety, minimizing motion and waste, ideas of standardizing work areas and job understanding to eliminate confusion.

The program was so successful, in fact, that Revere submitted it to the 2020 MAPP Innovation Awards. Stuetzer noted the company has been nothing but happy with the program and highly recommends it. “It’s validating,” she said. “Just being grateful – it reaches far with our employees. It means a lot to them.”