Employee recognition can improve companies’ financial performance, according to McKinsey & Co. researchers. That’s something management can feel great about when supporting recognition efforts!
Linking your employee recognition program—individual and team goals, metrics, rewards—with business goals and objectives helps you retain motivate top-performing employees and motivate the entire workplace! According to the U.S. Motivation post, “Aligning Your Reward and Recognition Program for Organizational Success:”
“Your program should be structured to meet those specific goals, offering the right motivation and ability to achieve the goal.”
Employee Recognition: What Do Your Workers Value?
To recognize employees effectively and meaningfully, you have to understand your workplace culture and what motivates individual workers and teams. Does time off resonate better with your workers or more work-life balance benefits that allow workers to work unencumbered longer hours? You industry, worker demographics and culture all influence what might best motivate workers.
For example, as the U.S. Motivation page says, countless studies show that Millennials value work/life balance, philanthropy, travel and technology.
“They may be more motivated by a rewards system that offers social recognition, charitable rewards and exciting travel rewards.”
What are your business objectives?
As you set goals for your workforce, consider what your business needs are. Do you need to generate more leads, build cross-division teamwork, improve plant safety, generate better customer service reviews? Recognition well used should support your key business goals at the same time as making employees feel valued.
U.S. Motivation quotes Steve Gross, senior partner at Mercer Talent Practice explains:
“A balanced approach to [employee recognition] acknowledges the needs of the business, the changing environment, the aspirations and demographics of employees, the local culture, and the current and future cost constraints …”
Increase the chance of your recognition efforts success by making sure you reward behaviors consistent with activities that support your business success.
Identify and Reward Behaviors that Support Your Culture and Strategies
Derek Irvine, vice president of client strategy and consulting at Globoforce, posted “5 Steps to Align Your Culture so All Employees Are Committed to Achieving Your Strategy,” in the Recognize This! blog, noting that culture and strategy are deeply intertwined in all organizations.
He cites a Towers Watson report that confirms the importance of aligning strategy with culture as you structure your employee recognition program. Irving’s post identifies steps for doing so:
- Identify the parts of your organization’s culture that build your core values—such as information sharing, teamwork, and customer focus—and define behaviors related to each one. For teamwork it might be commitment to common goals, active participation, open communication, and sharing of resources.
- Regularly recognize employees who demonstrate those behaviors! Be specific, and say which core value the behavior supports and how it helps the company. Here’s Irving’s example:“Sam, you really lived our value of teamwork when you went out of your way to locate the necessary research materials needed to move the Juno project forward. You didn’t have the information yourself, but you knew who did and how to get that information in the right hands. By doing so quickly and without prompting or direction, you helped us beat project deadlines, thrilling our client and making them a partner for years to come.”
- Share the recognition with the whole organization so other employees understand what teamwork behaviors look like and feel encouraged to behave similarly.
- Measure how often you recognize and reward employees. If a team struggles with acknowledging and embodying your business’s core values, consider providing further training or resources!
Remember, for an employee recognition program to help improve financial performance you need to align recognition activities to business goals and values, understand and reward employees in ways they value, and lastly, ensure workers have the training and tools to be successful.
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