Hiring and retaining the right talent has become a strategic focus for leading organizations given the need to manage talent shortages and the big generational shifts impacting business today. It’s no surprise then, that effective employee engagement and recognition are more challenging than ever. One thing is certain: it takes more than workplace gifts to pull off a successful employee recognition program!
According to the YouEarnedIt blog‘s “Employee Retention Strategies for 2016,” Today’s largest workforce segment, Millenials, want at-work friendships and connections, quick feedback, purposeful assignments, and frequent recognition.
“If HR professionals and company leadership don’t address these expectations, younger employees are inclined to move on, quickly.”
Don’t risk losing top performers due to old ways of thinking about employee recognition! Read on for expert tips on building recognition programs that will attract, satisfy and keep your workforce.
Recognition Takes More Than Workplace Gifts
Workers today are looking for connection and the experience of feeling valued and important, not just a token gift in the moment.
While it’s great to receive a gift in appreciation for your efforts, there are deeper ways to express your gratitude. In “Employee Recognition: Beyond the Gifts,” Cord Himelstein, VP of marketing and communications at recognition firm Michael C. Fina, writes, “ … the experience and celebration you create during the recognition that reinforces the personal connection is even more imperative.”
A workplace celebration turns employee recognition into an event, making the experience memorable and meaningful to even more employees! If you have the budget for a large catered affair, take the time to publicly recognize top achievers and give them small gifts.
Smaller budget? No problem! An affordable cake and ice cream party or pizza and soft drinks also suit a special occasion. According to Himelstein, “any number of planned events that give adequate time for the employee to bask in accomplishment” will do the trick.
And don’t forget that sharing praise in front of peers will encourage the employee behaviors you want to see. Your team will build long-lasting memories through recognition events that can help increase workers’ engagement, motivation, and productivity.
Make Recognition Personal
A thoughtful note of appreciation can make any gift or gesture a treasured memory. We all crave the need to be appreciated and it’s no less in the workplace. Whatever your budget or size of workforce, find a way to make your recognition personal – sincere, insightful and gracious. You can settle for celebrating your workforce a few times a year or you can commit to building a workplace that values strong relationships and a culture of appreciation. It all starts and depends on the top. Senior management must want to build a culture of gratitude and be willing to model it, invest in manager training and hold managers accountable. Only then can the whole workplace participate in a robust culture of appreciation.
Build a Recognition Plan that Fits Your Culture
Cultures of recognition flourish when leadership recognizes employees regularly, effectively, and encourages workers to recognize each other for going above and beyond. (It’s good for your bottom-line too!)
According to Globoforce VP of client strategy and consulting Derek Irvine, companies’ cultures usually fall somewhere on the continuum between “brutal realists” and “humane realists”. In “What Type of Realist Are You?” he notes that:
- Brutal realists value competition. They’re proud of their cutthroat cultures and value things like radical candor and “Darwinian” environments to improve performance.
- Humane realists value collaboration. To them, work is a place to come together and win by supporting those around them. They favor approaches to the workplace that center on gratitude, compassion, and empathy.
According to Irvine, businesses can develop cultures of employee recognition that fall anywhere along the spectrum between brutal and humane realism, but he suspects most companies are somewhere in the middle. These companies use the power of recognition to address “humane values”, rewarding such things as peer-to-peer appreciation and gratitude toward one another. They also recognize “competitive values”, such as rewarding employees for high performance and extraordinary efforts.
Wherever your organization falls on this cultural spectrum, look beyond workplace gifts to make your employee recognition initiatives memorable. You’ll be surprised at what results you can achieve!
For expert tips on how to plan daily recognition and organize regular celebrations throughout the year, download gThankYou’s FREE “Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar“. This one-of-a-kind eBook can help any workplace build an everyday culture of appreciation with month-by-month guides, case studies, research highlights, how-to recognition advice and celebration ideas for specific holidays and anytime!
Create the culture you want – download your free guide now and start today!
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