Employee recognition is mission-critical in any organization.
Why? Today’s job market is highly mobile. If employees don’t feel valued in their current job, they’ll find a new one where they do feel valued.
The respected Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) undertakes an annual in-depth Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report that examines employee engagement and satisfaction.
The 2012 edition of SHRM’s Survey identifies important trends that highlight the importance of employee recognition:
- The most important aspect of job satisfaction is “opportunities to use skills/abilities”. Among the 600 survey respondents, no aspect of their jobs has grown more in the past ten years. It was the fifth most important aspect ten years ago; today it’s #1.
- “Relationship with immediate supervisor” is the second highest growth aspect of job satisfaction, and fifth overall.
SHRM offers three implications for these findings:
- Develop existing employees. The difficult environment for identifying and hiring key candidates, particularly for manufacturing and service jobs, means the best way to fill tomorrow’s more demanding positions is with today’s employees.
- Communicate about the total rewards package. Knowing about compensation and benefits options and possibilities for growth are critical for creating a growth mind-set among employees.
- Build a bridge between employees and senior management. According to SHRM, two of the top five contributors to employee job satisfaction were “relationship with immediate supervisor” and “communication between employees and senior management”. “Clearly, employees value their relationship with management, and they are looking for ways to make this relationship more effective…”
So, where does that leave your organization? We’ve talked in the past about “MBWA” ; (management by wandering around) a great starting-point for all managers.
But, how do you create a culture that ensures all departments and employees receive recognition to feel valued?
One of the most appealing, comprehensive strategies we’ve seen comes from M.I.T., the renowned university in Cambridge, MA. MIT’s Human Resource Department has constructed an Employee Recognition Program that includes Baseline Practices and Best Practices.
MIT’s “best practices” suggest each department:
- Reinforce department and/or employee goals;
- Provide a continuum of recognition activities from informal day-to-day to formal award events;
- Awards criteria align with each department’s goals and values;
- Group social events and awards are used.
The University acknowledges recognition can range from simple, everyday options (thanks, praise, respect), to the institutional (safety, providing a meaningful mission) and the formal (awards ceremonies).
As with any great University, MIT gives us the opportunity to learn. MIT Human Resources provides a thoughtful series of outlines any organization can study, borrow and emulate.
Their advice provides a sound overall structure and suggests a broad range of considerations for your organization’s recognition program. Here are some examples and a few of the most insightful suggestions from each:
MIT Human Resources – Designing Employee Recognition Programs
- Maximize involvement in program design.
- Ask employees how they want to be recognized.
- Involve a diverse group in the design.
- Announce the names of design team members.
- Create a program that allows participation at all levels, including:
- Peer-to-peer recognition;
- Manager-to-employee recognition;
- Employee-to-manager recognition;
- Make “spot” award programs easy, informal and accessible.
- Build buy-in and excitement
- Involve senior leadership.
- Share decision-making.
- Change nomination and selection committee membership each year.
- On-the-spot recognition can take place every day, year round.
- Be timely and spontaneous; give immediate recognition.
- Encourage everyone to participate in on-the-spot recognition.
- Awards ceremonies should be the high point in the year, a culmination…
- “Managers and peers can provide ongoing, informal recognition on a regular basis at no cost by simply providing the type of feedback described above either in person, through email, at team meetings, or even on a sticky note…”
- MIT even provides an extensive, thoughtful list of links and books they consider best-practices sources for everyone to learn more.
- And, even MIT reminds us to use “Thank You” often.
That’s a great place to start, isn’t it? Thanks to MIT for sharing their thinking. Where do you go for advice on developing an employee recognition program?
About gThankYou, LLC
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