Today, more than ever, how employees feel at work affects productivity and business success. With a mercurial economy, a diverse workforce, and a tight job market, recognition for contributions is more meaningful than other rewards.
A culture of appreciation is much more than one employee recognition program for seniority or service. Creating a culture of appreciation, like many other effective business practices, must start at the top and must be incorporated company-wide for the best results. When top executives support, promote, and participate in best practices for employee appreciation, and managers are trained and evaluated on effective appreciation practices, it creates a culture of appreciation that has far-reaching impact.
Tenure-Based Rewards Don’t Create Value
Bersin & Associates research into employee appreciation and recognition The State of Employee Recognition in 2012 found that tenure-based rewards systems have no impact on organizational performance. Yet, more than 80 percent of recognition programs focus on tenure, or length of service milestone awards such as five, ten, and fifteen year anniversaries!
Recognition-Rich Cultures Have Lower Turnover
Bersin & Associate’s research also found an important factor in employee appreciation – it reduces turnover. Companies with significant employee appreciation efforts enjoy turnover rates lowered by 30 percent or more.
Employee Appreciation Best Practices
While each company will have its own ways to appreciate employees for service and performance, there are some best practices which are more effective at creating a culture of appreciation.
These best practices uncovered by Bersin & Associates include:
- Show Appreciation Often and Make It Easy to do so – In a culture of appreciation, it must be easy for people to show appreciation. Managers need to be trained and have access to easy ways to recognize employees whether via thank you notes or nominal on-the-spot recognition gifts. Online and social media appreciation programs really help in this area, making it easy for a team leader in one department to say thanks to a team member in another department after a project or a manager to recognize efforts of any employee. Investment in technology to make it easy to show appreciation often will be more than offset by the increase in engagement and reduction in turnover.
- Peer-to-Peer Recognition – While a successful culture of appreciation requires the support and participation of top executives, peer-to-peer recognition has an even bigger impact. Peers and co-workers, work side by side and know the daily pain points on the job better than the boss, and their appreciation means a lot.
- Share Stories – Stories are powerful, evoke emotion, and create memorable appreciation moments. Whatever rewards are given along with recognizing and thanking employees for extra effort, telling the story of why the employee is being recognized helps celebrate good performance and serves as a good example to follow.
- Recognize Specific Results and Behaviors – An award for being “employee of the month” should be given for specific behaviors, not just generic qualities like “friendly smile and prompt service.” Awards should go to employees for specific behaviors and measurable results that support your business goals. Engrave plaques with specifics and explain in published avenues exactly what the award is for.
- Tie Appreciation to Company Strategy and Goals – Making appreciation efforts reinforce company goals and strategic plans not only rewards employees but reinforces the behaviors and activities that advance business success. It creates better return on investment for resources spent on appreciation and gets everyone focused on the same business goals while contributing to a culture of appreciation.
Bersin & Associates research report The State of Employee Recognition in 2012 showed some interesting factors about employee appreciation. Although three-fourths of companies have recognition programs, only little over half of employees know their companies have them. More than half of HR respondents think HR doesn’t effectively administer recognition. Senior leaders don’t really know how their employees are recognized. This disconnect indicates a real need for a culture of appreciation in many companies, along with management training and evaluation on employee appreciation.
How effective is your company with employee recognition? How do employees feel about your company programs? Room for improvement? If so, you’ll like our eBook below.
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