Is your company struggling with high turnover, low productivity, and low engagement? The problem could be a lack of recognition.
Employees need to feel that their contributions are valued. They need to feel like they’re respected as individuals beyond what they contribute on a professional level. Here’s why employee recognition can make all the difference for your employees and your company.
Turnover costs U.S. businesses $1 trillion a year. It might be one of your biggest expenses, yet it’s possible to reduce turnover. It’s as simple and as difficult as making yours the kind of workplace that people want to stick around in.
Most employees want to keep working for a company that prioritizes recognition. You simply feel better about your work and your company if you feel that your contributions are valued. An employee recognition program can help employees feel happy and satisfied with their roles.
You don’t even have to spend a lot of money on an employee recognition program for it to be effective. You can put together a very affordable employee recognition program based on little more than saying thanks, writing a few short congratulatory notes during the year, and handing out some non-cash incentives, like letting them leave early on a Friday. To be effective, recognition should be personal, emotionally authentic, timely, and regular.
Your employees’ level of engagement with their work is one of the most important factors controlling their productivity. There’s a direct link between recognition and engagement, so that increasing the amount of recognition you give employees can directly boost the amount of engagement they feel at work.
The more frequently you recognize employees, the more effective recognition is at keeping employees engaged. The most engaged employees receive recognition at work on a weekly basis. Keep in mind that recognition doesn’t have to be expensive. Simply saying thanks for a hard day’s work, giving your employee a card to celebrate his or her work anniversary, or shouting out an employee’s achievement to the rest of the team can all be effective ways to reward high productivity. Recognition inspires feelings of motivation, so the more often you recognize employees, the more motivated they’ll feel – and, perhaps more importantly, the more consistently motivated they’ll feel. Keep handing out the words of praise to keep employees’ productivity levels high over time.
Making recognition an important part of your workplace can be one of the best ways to foster a healthy culture in your company. Recognition builds trust between managers and their teams. When you show your employees you appreciate them, they’ll appreciate you, too. The trust that forms between leaders and their teams, or even between team members, when recognition is handed out is the glue that holds companies together.
You should make sure that you’re encouraging not just recognition of team members by managers, but peer-to-peer recognition, too. Social recognition can be just as important to some people as money. In fact, for many people, a relatively small symbolic award – such as a thank-you note, certificate, or congratulatory card – can give most people a significant boost of motivation. Give peers the opportunity to boost one another up with peer-to-peer recognition programs. Many companies interpret this as encouraging employees to vote for an employee of the week, but that kind of recognition isn’t effective for all people.
Besides, everyone needs recognition, not just high performers. Encourage employees to say thanks when colleagues help them out by performing well. Put up a recognition board where employees can post notes of praise for their colleagues. Encourage team-building exercises, like happy hour drinks on Friday, potluck lunches, or cooking contests. Make sure everyone’s participating and that everyone is eligible for, and receiving, some kind of recognition for the role they play in your company.
If you’re looking for a way to keep your employees happy and working hard, you should try handing out a little recognition. You don’t have to hand out trophies – although you can, and that would certainly give the winning employees something to look at to motivate themselves to keep working hard. But saying thanks, writing a personal note now and then, and giving out the occasional cash bonus or non-cash award can be all it takes to make the difference between a workforce that has one foot out the door and one that will remain loyal to your company for years.