Employee engagement is critical to a company’s success; particularly its culture. One of the ways in which to achieve this is through employee recognition. But as most business leaders know it is no small task to build a workplace culture that enables recognition amongst employees.
The employee-employer contract has changed and will continue to do so - with employees now choosing to work for companies that share their values and socially-conscious community-driven pursuits.
No longer is the company that pays the most the best employer.
The workforce of today wants to feel appreciated - it is one of the factors that helps them decide to stay or leave.
In a world of flux companies everywhere are faced with the challenge of how to recognise and reward their employees. And as the competition for top talent deepens the way companies appreciate their employees has become a top priority - particularly in a multigenerational workforce with ever-changing needs.
Getting recognition right isn’t a one-and-done sort of thing - it is a strategy that needs constant improvement. One thing’s for sure, today’s workforce demands of its employers value in the way they experience work.
Yes Millennials we see you...
Recognising your employees helps to foster a great working environment, and what’s more, it will enable your company to become more attractive to new talent. Here are a few ways in which your company can start to cultivate a recognition-rich culture:
Manage your managers
It is well-documented that managers hold the key to employee engagement so it is imperative that your managers are aligned to your employee recognition and employee engagement strategies.
Having your managers’ buy-in helps to establish an everyday recognition culture that simplifies the process of alignment between your company objectives and goals and your formal recognition program.
Run an employee engagement survey or set-up employee and manager workshops to establish how managers are currently recognising their team members, if at all, and how employees really want to be appreciated. This will also help you to set realistic goals and identify any gaps when establishing your recognition program.
These methods could also prove very useful to garner a deeper understanding of exactly what your managers think about employee recognition and employee engagement - do they find it valuable or don’t they?
Depending on their responses or feedback in a facilitated workshop you could also establish which managers need active encouragement and motivation to frequently recognise their teams; or if they have the drive to truly help the company promote a culture of recognition.
Either way you will have the necessary information needed to create manager-driven training that helps them to understand the importance of employee recognition for their teams and the company at large.
It is important that this training also helps them to identify and recognise the ‘expected behaviours’ worthy of recognition.
Top tip: Ensure that your managers understand that employee recognition is part of their managerial duties and that driving this concept within their teams is something that they will be measured against.
Tomorrow’s too late; recognise in real time
We live in a time when things happen in nanoseconds - a tweet, a text, an email - it’s the world as we know it.
So, if we are living in this digitally savvy world then our working world needs to catch-up, fast. That’s the reason companies are rethinking the way they recognise - their employees specifically Millennials and Gen Z demand to be engaged in the way they engage with the world.
Employees don’t want to wait until the end of the year at your company’s awards ceremony to be recognised - sure that can form part of your recognition strategy - but if you want to be effective in your daily recognition efforts, real-time recognition is the key.
Why you ask?
Because it’s personal, it’s public and employees are quickly able to identify the values that you value; spurring on repeat performances.
So the next time you notice that Cindy in the Contact Centre has delivered an exceptional customer experience; don’t wait for tomorrow send her the recognition she deserves today and make sure all her peers see it too. Employee recognition technology like bountiXP can help you do just that.
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When informal employee recognition happens in real time it sparks employees to also ‘get in on the action’ and acts as the catalyst to sustainable employee engagement and an active culture of everyday recognition.
Top tip: Immediacy and frequency is key when it comes to employee recognition.
Make employee recognition meaningful
It is important that you understand how employees want to be recognised and rewarded. One way to do this is using a survey.
Surveys are effective ways to find out how employees want to be recognised and what rewards they really want? Rewards are used to reinforce specific positive behaviour in the workplace. There is a wide range of rewards including merchandise, gift cards or digital vouchers that can be used to reward your employees; but remember that every employee is different so it makes sense that they would want to be rewarded differently.
A baby boomer isn’t going to want the same rewards as a Millennial… In the same way different generations require different methods of recognition - some want immediate, constant praise while others prefer traditional methods of being appreciated and valued.
One of the best ways to cultivate a culture of recognition is to be specific and tailor your recognition and rewards strategies to your different employees.
With diminishing budgets, companies are being asked to do more with less. It’s for this reason that it’s critical that you recognise and reward employees in the way they want to be to optimise your recognition and rewards efforts.
Give authentic appreciation
For employee recognition to be effective and deliver the biggest impact it needs to be authentic. When you recognise your employees the act has to focus on the actual performance (what the person did); the qualities or values that he/she displayed (how the person did it) and has to highlight their intrinsic value as a person (their need to feel appreciated and valued).
When employees are recognised they feel supported and are encouraged to continue to deliver above standard performances. Frequently communicate to employees what the company vision and goals are and provide the necessary resources to employees for them to do their jobs well. These can include information on projects, objectives and hardware (tools).
Your employees need to know that the company genuinely cares about them and that recognising them is part of showing them that you value them and their contribution. It shouldn’t feel as though you’re simply ‘going through the motions’.
Building a culture of recognition takes time - but it can be done.
As a business leader or manager if you want to see change, commit to recognition and persevere towards a positive workplace that is productive, motivated and engaged!
Employees who feel valued support the company’s goals and encourage their co-workers to do the same - this creates a domino dopamine effect where employees are emotionally committed to do outstanding work; every day.