Every company knows that employee appreciation is a critical and on-going activity. However, many don't put enough thought into the ways they do it. The methods through which your company shows appreciation for employees will reflect significantly on your brand. It's something that will shape your company culture and it can either make or break morale. With that said, it's obvious that your company needs a unique way to show appreciation that will be appreciated in return. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when deciding on your approach.
Why Recognition is Critical to Mutual Success
Do you know the cost of employee disengagement? In the United States alone, disengaged workers cost companies about $550 billion annually. Meanwhile, over 60% of employees say they're burned out on the job and nearly 1 in 3 report extremely high stress levels at work. All of these numbers reflect a strong culture of low morale and lack of satisfaction across industries, yet so many companies are still stuck holding onto an outdated mindset. It's the attitude that employees are "lucky to have a job" and "shouldn't expect a thank you for just doing the work they're paid to do."
Unfortunately, this mindset isn't just hurting employees, it's hurting businesses. Companies who go the extra mile to show appreciation for the loyalty and effort of their employees end up seeing higher retention rates. Not only that, they end up creating an environment where employees feel even more compelled to dedicate themselves to doing their best work. It becomes a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship where both the company and employee show what's possible with a little bit of appreciation and empathy.
A staggering 96% of employees report that companies expressing empathy plays a vital role in increasing employee retention, but 92% also say that empathy remains undervalued in the workplace. However, an employee who does feel like heard, respected, and appreciated will perform 4.6 times better than one who doesn't. That means recognition is key to bringing out the best in your workers.
How to Simply Say "Thank You"
It doesn't take a lot to show appreciation for employees. Simply saying "thank you" in a way that comes across as genuine and meaningful is often enough to show an employee that you truly appreciate what they bring to the table.
One of the best ways to verbally thank your employees is to simply recognize a specific action. When you take notice of an employee doing something extra quickly, efficiently, or otherwise in a way that you would like to encourage, take a second right then and there to say it. Call out the specific action and then turn it into a more broad sentiment as well so that they know that you've taken notice of their overall performance, too.
For instance, if you notice that an assistant has managed to clear a backlog of data entry work in their free time, recognize it. Your interaction does not have to be long, just genuine. You might say, "I truly appreciate you taking the initiative and clearing out that backlog of forms today. I want to make sure you know that I not only recognize when you do things like this, but I also genuinely value it. We're lucky to have you!"
Keep it simple, straightforward, and impactful. If you do not already regularly praise your employees, they will likely feel taken aback the first few times you offer serval recognition to them. However, the key is to begin praising them regularly. If you want to acknowledge your newfound respect for verbal appreciation, you can certainly tell your employees in a meeting that you're making an effort to express your gratitude and respect for their work more regularly.
By getting into the habit of praising your employees often, you'll also get into the habit of being more mindful of who's doing what and when they're getting it done. Chances are, many things are slipping past you because, when things are done right, it's easy not to notice. Many employees are likely already going the extra mile or working very efficiently, and you've yet to catch on.
Ask for Peer Recognition
While you should strive to be more aware of how your employees are performing, it's definitely hard to catch them in the act of doing something above and beyond sometimes. Self-starters and very motivated employees especially will most likely hop from task to task silently, without bringing attention to their efforts.
It's common to have certain employees doing much more work in a given day than others because they always find something to do, even when their main role is finished. Others may work slower or less efficiently, or opt to spend their free time not working if a task isn't deliberately assigned to them.
This is why it's helpful to put a peer recognition system in place. Some employees may find it hard to give themselves credit, especially if a strong work ethic wills them to consistently find something that needs to get done at all hours of the day.
What your company can do to catch these acts of efficiency and initiative even when management isn't paying attention is put in an anonymous box. This is a box where employees can share a note about who did what. When employees feel a peer has gone above and beyond or did something really well, they can share it with you.
Employees who otherwise might not bring it up themselves may also feel empowered to share something that they did on their own with an anonymous box. This method simply helps you spot employees who deserve a thank you today and it also helps to build a sense of camaraderie and collaboration amongst teams as they recognize the roles each person plays in their overall success.
Designing a Recognition Program
A thank you goes a long way on its own. However, your company can show appreciation to a greater extent by implementing a recognition program. These come in many forms, but CoreCentive offers some proven programs that boost engagement, morale, and retention.
Every company wants to inspire employee loyalty and retention. Thus, giving service awards to employees when they hit certain milestones is a simple way to encourage workers to get into the long-term mindset. These awards compel employees to stay mindful of their performance on a day-to-day basis and reminds them that they're not just in it for a paycheck. These awards can truly help employees see their job as a career, and that automatically boost commitment and performance.
Service awards can consist of a thousand different things. The specific awards that you hand out will depend on your brand and company culture. It could be a monetary bonus, a gift card, or even a paid vacation. Generally, an employee's role and time with the company will impact what they receive.
There are different ways to approach it, but many companies give out service awards on employee anniversaries. For instance, once an employee has worked with you for one year, they may receive their first award. This may continue on their anniversary every year, or you may switch to milestones (depending on the size of the gift and what other incentive programs you have in place). At their five-year anniversary, an employee might receive quite a substantial service award.
Points and Performance Programs
Done wrong, any "recognition" system can end up being counter intuitive and actually diminish employees' sense of accomplishment and motivation. Many companies today utilize a points system that helps to drive the behaviors you want to see in the workplace. So, employees will earn points for both small tasks and large accomplishments. These points help management and the employees themselves track their performance. Your company may reward them for earning so many points or take these points into consideration when it comes time to give raises and bonuses.
You can also implement a performance program, which doesn't use points but instead uses an array of features, like social competitions, to help engage your employees in a user-friendly platform dedicated to your work. Both of these systems work well with the right approach, the key is to make sure that you implement a program that inspires hard work.
At CoreCentive, we believe that your company deserves a recognition system as unique as your employees. We custom-tailor our solutions to fit a variety of industries and cultures in order to inspire extreme retention and engagement. Empower your organization and request a consultation today.