As consumers, we’ve all (I hope) been thankful for a genuine act of generosity. Employees have the same sense of thankfulness, the same sense of gratitude) when they’re recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty in the workplace.
That sense of thankfulness creates employee engagement and builds loyalty.
It’s a big topic for HR pros and in companies today – engagement – and in particular engagement framed by low-cost or no-cost strategic recognition programs, formal and informal. Studies and examples underscore this point, as Robert Morris, a business commentator from Dallas, wrote recently on the Examiner site. Morris contends, in fact, that reward and recognition programs provide firms with a direct competitive advantage
Here’s an example cited by Morris:
“I once called on a consulting client…and while being escorted from the reception area to the CEO’s office by his administrative assistance, as we walked past one office, I stopped when I saw through the open door a framed ‘something’ on the wall. It was the office of a senior vice president and he was not there. ‘Everyone notices that,’ she said. ‘Here, take a look.’ I examined what was under the glass: more than a dozen multi-colored Post-its, each personally inscribed with brief, congratulatory comments addressed to ‘Warren’ for a winning proposal, an excellent presentation, etc. ‘He’s so proud of those little notes that he went out and got them all framed’”.
Talk about Gratitude²! Here’s a senior exec who’s proud to display “merit badges” of achievement that cost about 1/10 cent each. He probably spent more time having them framed than the writers spent writing them. And what a huge pay-off. This is clearly an engaged, grateful employee.
A survey released earlier this year by the O.C. Tanner Co. says companies that “appreciate employees’ get a 20 percent to 30 percent boost in engagement. The global study shows that a simple “thanks” provides results that cross countries and cultures.
Such job appreciation creates measured stickiness. I’ve seen it work in my own career:
An executive at a company I worked for gave out a bumper sticker (a bumper sticker?!?!) as a monthly award to the employee he thought made a measurable impact. He presented the award in grand fashion at a highly-attended staff meeting each month singing the praises of the awardee. I was not the only one who proudly displayed that bumper sticker at my desk – and was motivated to stick with the company for a long, long time.
It’s an amazing tool!
Simple Rewards = Gratitude Squared (SR = g²).
Share your own examples of how recognition – formal or informal – helped motivate you. We’d love to hear from you.
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