According to a recent Gallup survey, it has been shown that approximately “36% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work and workplace.” This conclusion was drawn as a result of data pertaining to the first six months of 2021 in the United States. Worldwide, on a literal global scale, this percentage drops down to only 20% of people who are actively engaged or involved in the work they perform.
In an effort to amplify employees’ desire to be involved and actually engage in their places of employment, many employers have implemented recognition programs. More specifically, a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management showed that approximately 80% of employers have recognition programs that are designed to help said employers express appreciation and gratitude toward their employees and the hard work they do.
These programs are important, and their effects cannot be overlooked. Just take a look at the wise words of Dr. Bob Nelson, who is recognized as a leading authority on the power of employee recognition. In his words, “People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.”
The bottom line and main takeaway here are that a solid recognition program in your workplace will absolutely pay for itself. But how do you know that your employee recognition program will be successful? As long as you ensure that your recognition program adheres to the five characteristics below, your employees should feel the benefits of an effective program in no time.
1. Appropriately funded
Employee recognition programs can be enacted in many ways, and the best part of all is that they do not necessarily require you to invest company finances. If monetary incentives are something you, as an employer, would like to incorporate into your employee recognition program, you certainly can, but make sure you have the funding to do so before making any promises.
For businesses that either do not have the funds to do so or would prefer not to focus on rewarding employees with monetary benefits, you can always opt for verbal or written forms of praise instead. That said, recognition programs are often most effective when the rewards that are extended come in different forms.
A combination of monetary perks, such as gifts or bonuses, and free rewards, like words of affirmation or acts of service, can work wonders. The price tags aside, it is important that you can allocate the necessary funds that the type of program you want to implement requires.
Make sure you do so with enough time to prepare as well. Include the funding as its own category when you set out to budget for the upcoming year. Doing so can help ensure that plenty of resources will be available to meet your program’s needs.
2. Reflective of company values
The employee recognition program that you put together should clearly reflect the values and objectives of your company. For instance, if your business is all about teamwork, rewards for collaborating with fellow co-workers is a reasonable reward to extend to employees.
Ultimately, recognizing employees for performing duties or embodying characteristics that do not align with the values of your company could result in confusion, inconsistencies and failure to uphold company values across the board.
3. Commensurate to the achievement
Recognition rewards should measure up to the achievement being rewarded. The amount of effort that your employees exert must be adequately compensated, even if it is not done so in a monetary way.
For instance, according to the SHRM, “a recognition system will falter if employees feel that their work is trivialized or even insulted by inconsequential incentives or insincere gestures of appreciation.” In line with this way of thinking, an employee who has been with the company for years and ends up executing a two-year project efficiently should receive a far more significant reward than that of a newer employee who brings a cup of coffee to his or her manager without being asked to do so.
If the rewards that employees receive as part of recognition programs are not meaningful to said employees, they will be far less effective, if at all. Consider offering rewards that are personally tailored to your employees’ birthdays, employment anniversaries, life milestones, accomplishments or other accolades that are specific to your employees and their lives.
Speak directly with your employees to find out which types of rewards matter most to them. From there, seek to incorporate their preferences in ways that will make them feel appreciated while staying within the company’s budget, whatever that may be.
5. Timely and current
Make an effort to extend recognition rewards to your employees as close in time as possible to when the achievement was accomplished. For the sake of consistency and convenience, certain employers will always recognize employees on the same day every week.
However, the SHRM has mentioned that it is often better to recognize employees shortly after they have performed well instead of waiting for a future date. Basically, the sooner you reward an employee who engages in behavior you appreciate, the more appreciated your employee will feel.
That said, rewarding employees in such a quick manner may not be possible for every situation, depending on the type of reward you are planning to extend. If that’s the case, just use your best judgment and proceed from there.
Along with the five characteristics listed above, your employee recognition program should be both easy for administration to navigate and simple for employees to understand.