Recognition is an excellent tool for furthering employee engagement and increasing long term retention. Recognition stimulates motivation and provides behavior reinforcement. Recognition in its simplest definition is telling an employee they preform good work. However, providing praise that resonates with an employee and which gives them a true sense of appreciation involves actions beyond a few words in passing.
What your employees want:
Rather than trying to divine what act of recognition your employees would appreciate-ask them! Solicit suggestions on how employees would like to be recognized for their efforts through a survey or a suggestion form.
Add a little 'punch' to your praise by including a "token of appreciation." This can be anything from gift cards to gas cards or candy bars. The idea is that these tokens can be used to convey that the employee went 'above and beyond' expectations. Here are a few more suggestions.
There's no denying the fact that we live digital lives both at home and at work. In fact most employees can be accurately said to compulsively check their smartphones several times a day.
This fact can be an advantage for providing praise. Instant recognition through email, text, social network messaging, or intranet posting is an easy and simple way to recognize employees.
For a more streamlined virtual recognition process, there are a number of companies that currently offer recognition programs for the office. Check out any one of these to assist in your recognition programs:
Create a Recognition Committee
Select a few hard working employees to head-up the creation of a workplace recognition program. Bridge the gap between employees and management by including several managers in the committee. This will allow employees the opportunity to gain insight into the budget and financial constraints so that when their ideas are rejected on monetary grounds they won't feel frustrated.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, so why not share it with your team of exceptional employees?
Show your employees you appreciate their efforts by bringing in, setting out and cleaning up, breakfast. This gesture serves a dual purpose; it recognizes your employees for having done an exceptional job and it encourages team cohesiveness, an element that drives engagement. This promotes open communication and breaks down fences.
Offer Development and Training Opportunities
The PwC report, "Millennials at Work Reshaping the Workplace" found that 35 per cent of Millennials are attracted to employers who offer superior training and developmental programs. The report also indicates that Millennials view training and development as an important benefit of working for an organization.
Providing employees with the opportunity to attend an internal development session, an outside workshop or professional training as a means of recognizing their work is an excellent way to foster engagement. In encouraging the education of employees you enhance the mutual commitment of the employee and employer. In essence, you reinforce their engagement in the company by demonstrating your engagement in them.
A Call from the President
In the US, winners of major league sporting event often receive a celebratory call from the president. Taking a page from the sports team handbook, have the company president call deserving employees to thank them for their superior efforts.
This experience will not only thrill employees, it will motivate them to work harder and help build long lasting engagement. In the early days of my career, I worked harder, sacrificed more and volunteered frequently when I had a relationship with my bank presidents. Likewise, employees will work harder, and stay on the job longer when they perceive they have a relationship with their executive managers.
To sum it up
Solicit suggestions on how employees would like to be recognized. Select a few hard working employees to head-up the creation of a workplace recognition program. There are a number of companies that currently offer recognition programs for the office. Employees will work harder, and stay on the job longer when they perceive they have a relationship with their executive managers. Recognition programs solidify relationships and increases employee engagement and retention.
Larry Friis is the Principal of High-touch Leadership, an advisory services firm. Larry spent 23 years in the banking industry and sat on the Board of two financial institutions. Larry has also been a Healthcare executive and has an active license as a Healthcare Administrator and he is now pursuing a doctoral degree, which focuses on business and corporate leadership. He is writing a book titled – Great companies know: Employees are customers too.