When John joined a software MNC, he was given a top post and a fat paycheck. Everything was hunky-dory for a year or so. But last month, he put in his papers, which baffled most of his colleagues. After all, he worked really hard, had a dream role, and a dream salary.
But John realized there’s more to big money and a big designation. The problem was: he was seldom praised for his efforts. The recognition he received from his manager or CEO was not at par with his contribution towards the company. This slowly reduced his job satisfaction, broke his trust, and demotivated him. He finally quit.
Look around you. You may find many Johns in your company, seeking their due recognition at work. Gone are the days when one would wait to be presented with the ‘Best Employee’ award at the office annual event. It’s a faster, fickle, and more dynamic world today. Opportunities are galore. Without recognizing employees and appreciating their contribution, workers will not give their 100 percent towards their work. You also might lose them.
Why is employee recognition important? According to a Gallup survey, only 1 out of 3 workers in the US say they are recognized or praised for doing good work. No wonder, almost 70 percent of US employees say they don’t feel engaged at their current workplace.
How much does it take to recognize the efforts of your best employees on a regular basis? It’s simple. When you do a cost-benefit analysis, the odds are strongly in favour of the latter. Therefore, the importance of employee recognition is far greater than what was first envisaged by most businesses.
Here is a list of costs to your business if you fail in recognizing employees:
Now, take a look at the benefits of employee reconition:
Increase in productivity: Appreciating your best employees regularly means they stay happy and satisfied. Their confidence in you and the company increases. Their motivation to keep working hard and effectively rises, and so does their morale. They also feel valued. All this means productivity increases manifold.
Increase in engagement: As pointed out earlier, a disengaged employee is a liability to the company. On the other hand, if the worker feels he is duly recognized for his performance by his seniors, engagement is bound to rise. This increases employee efficiency.
Increase in healthy competition: If the peers of an employee notice he is being rewarded for putting in that extra bit of effort, they too will follow suit. It’s natural. This will lead to better teamwork and breed a healthy competition among peers. That’s a win-win.
Increase in trust: Appreciating also means you are appreciated. If you take out time to congratulate your employee for some good work, he too will understand the effort you have taken to initiate recognition at work. As a result, his trust in you and the company will increase. This will lead to better working relationship and stronger team benefits. Employee recognition gives out a solid message to teams, management, (also the grapevine or folks around the water cooler), and of course to the employee.
Reduction in turnover: As with the example of John above, an unrecognized, demotivated, and de-spirited employee will quit not before long. Job satisfaction is so paramount that a fat pay packet or other ancillary benefits stop playing a role in such circumstances. However, an engaged and satisfied worker will think twice before making a leap to a (perhaps) better paying but uncharted territory.
Reduction in cost: If your turnover rate decreases, it means you don’t have to spend money and time roping in and training a new employee who might join at a higher salary and take more time to settle in.
Reduction in work negativity: This brings us back to the question – “why is employee recognition important?” An employee who feels he is given his due recognition in his workplace will stop taking stress, coming late to work, taking frequent leaves or spreading bad vibes about the company around. It’s an intangible but very important benefit for the organization.
Now that you have realized the innumerable benefits of employee recognition how important and beneficial it is to appreciate your best employees, here’s how to recognize your employees:
Make it continuous: Evangelize about and implement a culture of regular employee recognition at your workplace. A spontaneous congratulations or appreciation is seen as the most personal and effective means of recognition at work. But it is not always practical. Also, the days of bulletin boards are no more in the times of deskless work. So it is advisable to set up an inclusive employee engagement network, in the form of a mobile app preferably, where you can regularly send out appreciation messages privately or posts publicly. Making employee recognition in workplace a continuous process is key.
Make it seem personal: Ensure your congratulations messages don’t seem impersonal. Start off and end by thanking the employee using his name, point out his exact contribution and how it has impacted the business. Give him and others a choice to respond to the post or message and voice out opinions on the same through the employee communication app.
Research well: Set up a team or mobilize team managers to track performance and report to the person concerned. Clear guidelines and standards for recognition always help. Hollow rewards or praises will soon be called out, and the intention will backfire.
Make it inclusive: Don’t make the mistake of alienating your non-desk workers. Make sure to loop them in not only congratulatory posts about them but also anyone else from the organization. A mobile and all-inclusive employee engagement tool will keep them abreast of company happenings and motivate them to continue contributing.
Motivate peer recognition: Encourage peer-to-peer praises on the employee engagement app. Studies say employees turn highly motivated and satisfied if praised by their immediate peers or team leaders.
Loop all in: Create posts, contests, alerts by which other employees don’t feel left out. Motivate them to perform better so that his team and the entire organization can laud his efforts the next time.