When Quantum Workplace broke down the data to find The Top 10 Cities for Employee Recognition, there’s a reason they ranked the cities by percentage of “satisfied employees.”
Recognized employees are satisfied employees.
The direct connection between recognition and satisfaction becomes clear when we look at results in Quantum Workplace’s 2014 Recognition Trends Report. (The 55-page report is comprehensive and free to download here.) Analyzing survey results from almost 400,000 employees at 5,000 companies nationwide, researchers divided everyone into four groups of employee engagement:
- Engaged — advocates for the company, leads efforts, intends to stay
- Contributing — moderately favorable performance, but something holds them back and there’s room for improvement
- Disengaged — indifferent, lacks motivation, at-risk for retention
- Hostile — negative attitude, lacks commitment, impacts the productivity of others
When researchers went back and charted how frequently each group reported being recognized, an obvious trend line appeared. “As employees’ level of engagement increased, they were more likely to report the frequency of recognition as just right.”
“Hostile employees were nearly four times more likely to say they received too little recognition, compared to engaged employees,” researchers concluded.
The word choice of “hostile” is a strong one, but it drives home the dangers of not taking employee recognition seriously enough. Companies that don’t show appreciation to their employees aren’t just inspiring indifference and lackluster performance. They’re actually at risk for creating an actively hostile workforce, full of employees who can’t wait to quit.
The ramifications of an ineffective or nonexistent employee recognition program are bad for business, however the antidote — taking daily steps toward building a culture of gratitude — is simple to start on today.
Here are five tips that HR experts agree on — and that prove recognition needn’t be expensive, laborious or complicated.
1. Engage employees as people.
Ask, listen, acknowledge and say “thank you” face-to-face. “Staff will find the fact that you take time to engage them in conversation rewarding and recognizing. You also set an example when you establish courteous interaction as an expectation in your workplace,” writes Susan M. Heathfield for About.com Human Resources.
2. Start recognition on Day One.
As we discussed earlier this week, early recognition during employee onboarding is vital toward longterm engagement and retention.
3. Recognize frequently and don’t wait for the “right moment.” Employee recognition isn’t something you save up in a piggy bank for a big blowout once a year. It’s meaningful to employees to know right away that their work is valued. Frequent recognition also builds performance excellence, since employees will know right away what they did to earn praise and will want to do it again. Read more about this type of recognition in our recent post, “On-the-Spot Recognition: The Best Kind of Workplace Gifts.”
4. Keep on recognizing.
An employee’s first year on the job is a honeymoon phase, and disillusionment often follows it unless a company has a strong employee recognition program, according to BenefitsPro writer Dan Cook. He quotes the Globoforce Spring 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker Report: “When employees experience values-based recognition, they are less disillusioned overall. … When recognition is put into place, feelings of being appreciated, loving a job and being engaged start high and remain high.”
5. Remember the magic in the words “Thank You” and don’t be afraid to get creative.
Forget the tired recognition methods of yesteryear, such as employee-of-the-month plaques and anniversary rewards, and simply have fun with it. Heathfield came up with “40 Different Ways to Say Thank You at Work” to get your creative juices flowing, or you can browse our archives on “The Art of Thank You” for more inspiration.
For more on fostering a culture of engagement and appreciation in your workplace, download our FREE ebook, “Winning with Workplace Gratitude”
Click the image below and start sharing your gratitude today!
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