If you have an employee recognition program, you're definitely on the right track. According to a study of 1,200 workers, more than 80% of respondents said that being recognized for their contributions was more fulfilling than receiving monetary rewards or gifts. Employees definitely appreciate being recognized. The question is, who should you be recognizing and how?
The Right Recognition Approach Can Significantly Lower Employee Turnover
One of the biggest costs of doing business is hiring and training new employees. According to the Center for American Progress, the average cost to replace an employee is approximately 21 percent of their salary.
According to the Society for Human Resources Management's 2015 Employee Recognition Report:
- The top three challenges organizations face are turnover, employee engagement, and succession planning.
- Values-based employee recognition "significantly" contributes to bottom-line organizational metrics.
- Values-based recognition programs help employers create a stronger culture and more human workplace.
- The top objective for recognition programs is employee appreciation, but many recognition programs fail to inspire employees.
- Organizations that invest in employee recognition programs experience better results.
What does this mean to you? It means that you absolutely should have an employee recognition program in place. However, for this program to have the impact you want it to have (boosting employee morale, increasing productivity, and reducing turnover), it must not simply be about "going through the motions." It should be something employees want and respond to.
Peers Recognizing Peers
Everyone loves getting a pat on the back from their boss. Surprisingly, people also love being praised by their peers. In the aforementioned study, more than 75% of respondents said that being praised by their peers was "very or extremely motivating."
Maybe that's because the people an employee interacts with closely, day in and day out, usually have the best grasp of how much or how little they contribute to the group. When the boss or human resources manager comes around, and during group meetings when higher-ups are present, everyone tends to be on their best behavior. Because they want to leave a good impression on the higher-ups, employees are far more likely to participate and volunteer than they might be when no one "important" is watching. Peer recognition is more indicative of what occurs on a daily basis.
Democracy or Performance-Based
Instead of having your HR manager or section managers decide which employees should be recognized, why not put that decision to a vote? This way, you can be sure you're rewarding the most deserving employees, rather than those with the strongest "brown-nosing" game.
When employees have a say in who gets recognized, they become more engaged in the process. The recognition takes on a deeper significance and seems more legitimate when it's given as a result of a democratic vote. Allowing your team to vote on who gets recognized also motivates employees to be team players and go above and beyond, because they know at the end of the month employees will be evaluating each other's performance.
An alternative to a straight vote is to create a leaderboard to track measurable employee performance. This also ensures that only the most deserving employees are being recognized. In either case, employees will be inspired to perform because they'll want to hear their named called!
Let Employees Choose How They'd Like to Be Recognized
In addition to allowing employees to vote on who deserves recognition, why not allow them to choose what that recognition will be. The sky's the limit, really. Lunch with the boss. A gift card. Social media recognition. Badges and trophies. Branded swag. All employees are different. Therefore, the way you recognize them shouldn't be "one-size-fits-all." Give them options and let them choose. After all, the goal of your recognition program is to reward employees in ways they will sincerely appreciate!