Part-time, temporary and contract workers slip through the cracks too often and don’t always get the recognition they deserve. They’re easy to overlook — typically they work odd hours, fewer hours, out in the field or from home, and as a result are not as well known to management and to their permanent, full-time peers.
But their numbers are growing, and it isn’t necessarily by choice. The size of the part-time workforce in the U.S. jumped during the 2008 recession, and full-time hiring doesn’t appear to be picking back up, according to research overseen by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported earlier this year in the New York Times.
“Basically all of the growth in part-time workers has been among people reluctantly working few hours because of either slack business conditions or an inability to find a full-time job. Together these people are considered to be working part time ‘for economic reasons.’ Their numbers have grown by 3.4 million since the downturn began,” Catherine Rampell writes in the Times’ Economix blog.
At the same time, part-timers and temp workers also play a vital role in many business operations, from the retired grandmother who shares her maturity and expertise as a part-time retail cashier to the seasonal employees who help a company meet consumer demands and weather the busy holiday season.
Collectively referred to as “contingent” employees, part-time, temporary and contract workers will appreciate knowing how much they’re valued at your organization, even if they’re outside the box of what’s considered “normal” employment.
Most significantly — and simply — the first step toward effective recognition for contingent workers is to treat them the way you want them to act. A contingent worker treated as a cast off to be discarded at the end of the season, or as a temporary solution to a long-term need, will act accordingly.
“If you want part-time employees to have a long-term perspective, treat them with a long-term perspective. Talk about where they want to be in five years, for example, or what skills they are interested in learning,” advises author Bob Nelson at Workforce.com. Encouraging contingent workers to take initiative and offering the training they need will empower them, give them a sense of ownership and motivate them to be more dedicated to their work.
Think of the future. That contract worker today may turn out to be an invaluable resource and worth hiring full-time down the road. And the more seasonal workers you have returning year after year, the better prepared and knowledgeable your workforce will be.
For your older employees who may be coming out of retirement to work part-time or on a contract basis, Incentive Magazine recommends encouraging cross-generational innovation: “Each generation has its own perspective on products and services. Cross-pollinate ideas by utilizing the diversity in the workplace, and develop innovative products and services.” This goes for all contingent workers. Invite their input, and you may be surprised by their ideas and innovation.
Nelson, author of 1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work, also recommends including part-time workers in the same activities as their full-time counterparts, such as department meetings and social events. Consider throwing a special holiday party for contingent workers who work from home or at off hours, or do it at a time when everyone can partake. “Everyone — especially part-timers — needs and wants to feel a part of the team,” he writes.
Bottom line: never underestimate the power of saying “Thank You.” Just as everyone wants to feel a part of the team, everyone craves recognition. Often it’s as simple as saying these two words, backed by a heartfelt and specific compliment. And, there is no better time than now to share your gratitude.
To learn more about effective workplace recognition, download our FREE eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving” by clicking the image below.
A new study has shown that employees are increasingly favoring virtual rewards for employee recognition over those which come with a specific dollar value, according to research by gamification platform Badgeville, and employee motivation company Make Their Day!
What are Virtual Rewards?
Virtual rewards are ways of providing employee recognition without using financial incentives, and they’re currently thriving in companies nationwide. Virtual rewards can come in many forms, including but not limited to:
- Praise and recognition from an immediate manager or peers
- Opportunities for growth – such as leading a team
- A better title/more responsibilities in the workplace
- Reward for achieving workplace goals
- Just plain fun!
Virtual rewards are often used through gamification; a process gaining popularity using the principles of game play in a non-game application. BunchBall provides a useful white paper on Gamification 101, if you are new to all this. Out of the employees surveyed, 88 percent said they find virtual recognition from their managers “extremely motivating”.
The report’s findings showed that 83 percent of employees felt that they got more satisfaction from recognition at work than particular rewards of monetary value. Not only that, but 71 percent claimed the most meaningful recognition they’d ever received cost nothing at all!
Cindy Ventrice, president of Make Their Day! and author of ‘Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works’ says: “The value of non-tangible recognition is clearly identified in our findings. Workplace technology today, such as gamification, provides many new opportunities for non-tangible recognition. With nearly one-fifth of meaningful recognition being delivered virtually, it is clear that these methods can be effective.”
According to Incentive Magazine, the research showed 70 percent of employees found rewards meaningful to them even though they did not come with a monetary price tag – that’s an increase of 57 percent from six years ago.
“It’s about status and employee recognition. They are giving meaningful virtual rewards for exceptional work. They deliver what employees and consumers actually want, which is emotional reward”, stated Gabe Zichermann, founder of Gamification Corp.
The study was conducted using responses from over 1,200 workers from a diverse range of industries to establish what drives and motivates them to perform well in the workplace.
Cryptocurrency for Employees
Perhaps you’ve heard of Bitcoin? It’s already been adopted by many merchants, and now companies are beginning to explore the possibility of using this cryptocurrency (digital currency) as a kind of reward system for employees.
One company, called Recognize, has already created a mobile app supporting Bitcoin as an alternative way to reward workers.
Mario Herger, the enterprise gamification scheme’s designer and Austrian Innovation Center’s CEO based in Silicon Valley, said: “Tangible rewards like money can lead to disengagement.”
He went on to say: “Yet, there are a lot of scientific examples where giving people money rewards other than salary means that people are interested in going the last mile.”
That’s why Bitcoin seems to be one solution; it’s not really money, but it works well, if not better.
A Tool to Add to Your Recognition Program
Virtual rewards are proving a great way to yield satisfied and motivated employees in the workplace, so why not consider adding virtual rewards to your recognition program today?
Ken Comee, CEO of Badgeville said: “The results of the Make Their Day! study aligns to what we’ve seen across our customers deploying gamification solutions for workplace engagement, as well as numerous reports over the last few years on the changing face of what motivates employees today. Workers of all ages, especially the rising millennial population, are motivated by real-time feedback, fun, engaging work environments, and status-based recognition over tangible rewards.”
Remember, personal recognition by management should never be eliminated by virtual rewards. Instead, think of virtual rewards as an additional way to motivate and positively engage with employees within your company; and as a tool that’s particularly valuable for engaging millennials.
Does your company currently use virtual rewards? How do they work in your workplace?
Want to learn more about the role of employee recognition for engagement and the long-term health of your business? You’ll enjoy our FREE eBook below:
“Welcoming employees with an assortment of gifts and activities help new hires get involved right out of the gate.”
“The way you manage the transition of somebody into your culture speaks volumes about the culture to the person coming in, because you’re making those first early impressions and they know what’s expected of them.”
Companies are realizing this philosophy is necessary, the article notes. It’s not just about the bottom line; the key is to make employees enthusiastic right from day one.
As Victoria Weinblatt of Leaf Group writes at the Houston Chronicle’s Chron.com, in “Gifts for a New Employee,”
“Entering the realm of the working world is a life-changing event.”
Make it easier with personal attention and a small gift. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but a thoughtful “welcome to the team” gift might be just the thing to build your company’s reputation as a great place to work. Your next search for the best talent will likely be that much easier.
Vera Leigh, eHow contributor, adds: “New employee gifts make people feel welcome and appreciated on their first day of work. They also set the tone for the work environment and let people know that you are glad they have joined your staff,” in her article, “New Employee Gift Ideas.”
Here are some popular gift suggestions:
- Gift certificates or gift cards—preferably ones that enable employees to select their own items, shop at their store of choice and even share with their family.
- Desk goodie basket—healthy snacks as well as treats.
- Greeting card—a personal message from management and staff.
- Lunch—catered in a conference room, in the company cafeteria, or a local restaurant.
HR software company TribeHR, contributes a few more ideas in their “Make an Amazing Employee Welcome Package.”
- Put a small gift on new employees’ desks each day during their first week. Try a gift certificate or card on Monday, chocolates on Tuesday, fresh flowers on Wednesday, a cupcake from a local bakery on Thursday, and Friday, a coffee mug with your company’s name on it.
- If they’re new to the area, give them a stack of menus to popular local restaurants and coffee shops, and a bunch of brochures for local museums, theaters and other attractions.
You just spent $40 and did something your employees will always remember.
“Businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars a year or more on new hires, with the hope that they will become valued employees who add to the company’s success. It pays to do a few little, inexpensive things to welcome them aboard.”
How do you make new employees feel welcome? Learn more about how employee appreciation helps your employees feel valued, keeps the workplace motivated and improves your bottom-line!
Employee happiness is becoming a hot topic among CEOs and in boardrooms, notes Rob Markey in a Harvard Business Review blog post, “Transform Your Employees into Passionate Advocates.”
“[It’s] one more sign of the growing recognition that happy, engaged employees are more productive and generate better outcomes for their companies,” he writes.
But, he adds, only a few of the things that make employees happy result in real, sustained benefit for their companies. As Gretchen Spreitzer and Christine Porath note in one of a series of HBR articles on employee happiness, “It’s not about contentment, which connotes a degree of complacency.”
Timely, Meaningful Recognition
Markey and his colleagues have studied the links between employee engagement and customer loyalty for a few years, and have found that the only route to happy employees, that also benefits shareholders, is through a sense of fulfillment resulting from an important job done well.
It’s about recognizing employees in a timely, meaningful way. Employees should be able to connect the recognition—whether it’s a personal note, a small gift, or both—with their hard work on the company’s behalf.
The Happiness/Productivity LinkSeveral other organizations weigh in on workers’ mindsets. A Businessweek article by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, “Employee Happiness Matters More Than You Think,” says, “Ultimately … the source of productivity is the individual knowledge workers who get things done every day. And the evidence is clear: People perform better when they’re happier.”
For 10 years Amabile and Kramer researched creativity, productivity, and the psychology of everyday work life. Their findings: “Whether we looked at entrepreneurial startups or large, established enterprises, the same holds true: People are more productive and creative when they have more positive emotions.”
“In fact, we found that, if happier on a given day, people were not only more likely to come up with a new idea or solve a complex problem that same day but also to do so the next day.”
Gallup provides statistics linking employee feelings and corporate outcomes, Amabile and Kramer note. The organization reports that disengaged employees’ lost productivity costs U.S. businesses more than $300 billion a year. Another Gallup study by researcher James Harter and others concluded that employees’ past feelings about an organization can predict sales and profits at a future point in time.
Furthermore, U.K.-based research suggests clear links between workers’ happiness and their productivity. Jamie Doward’s Observer/Guardian article, “Happy people really do work harder,” reports that a team of economists led by Andrew Oswald, a professor of economics at Warwick Business School and a leading authority on the relationship between economics and mental health, says its research has important implications for the worlds of politics and business.
“We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity,” the team says. “Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings, while negative emotions have the opposite effect.”
The Warwick economists note: “Happier workers … were 12% more productive. Unhappier workers were 10% less productive.”
Employee Gratitude Done Right
If you show employees they’re valued, they’re more likely to be happy and have positive feelings about your company and their jobs. Here are three tips for effective employee recognition:
- Let line managers lead—Immediate supervisors are best equipped to observe when an employee thank you is warranted, or to review the results of performance metrics and recognize top performers.
- Keep it simple—Managers shouldn’t have to wade through complicated reports to determine who their top performers are.
- Customer feedback—What’s more powerful than hearing a customer’s thank you?
As Markey’s HBR article says, “When frontline employees and managers hear directly from customers — when they see how customers scored their experience, when they hear what went right and wrong in the customer’s own words — the effect is dramatic. Applause in the form of positive feedback inspires them to keep up the good work.
Loyal, passionate employees bring a company as much benefit as loyal, passionate customers. They stay longer, work harder, work more creatively, and find ways to go the extra mile,” he continues. “They bring you more great employees. And that spreads even more happiness — happiness for employees, for customers, and for shareholders.”
How do you ensure your employees receive timely, meaningful recognition? How do you keep workers feeling fulfilled?
For more on learning how to build employee engagement, happiness and a great workplace culture, download our FREE eBook, “Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude”.
Download now and start sharing your gratitude today!
About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to keep happy employees during the holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalized including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at email@example.com or 888-484-1658.
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