Do you want to make sure your employees feel appreciated and motivated? You have stumbled upon the land of employee recognition, where unicorns roam free, and appreciation is the name of the game. It’s time to dust off your thank-you notes, sharpen your high-five skills, and get ready to embark on a journey that will leave your employees feeling like rockstars (minus the big hair and leather pants, unless that’s your company’s dress code). I realize that the joke fell flat but you would have laughed if it came from your boss!!
Jokes aside, employee recognition is a critical aspect of any successful workplace. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more engaged, motivated, and productive. Yet, many companies struggle to implement effective recognition programs that truly resonate with their employees.
Fundamentals of Employee Recognition
A building is as strong as its base. So, let’s start off by understanding the fundamentals of employee recognition.
What is employee recognition?
Do you remember what it was like in school? The joy of getting a star from your favorite teacher? We grow up, get busy with life and interestingly enough, certain things remain the same. Employee recognition is a lot like getting an A or a star. Instead of an A, it’s an award or promotion or hike, or even a ‘job well-done’ email. There are numerous ways to recognize an employee, we will get to that at a later stage in the blog. First, let’s look at the fundamentals of employee recognition.
Fundamentals of Employee Recognition
Recognition should be provided promptly after an employee has achieved something noteworthy. Delayed recognition can reduce the impact of the recognition and may even cause frustration among employees. Let me narrate a real-life example. I started working for PyjamaHR and I am an HR turned marketeer, the first month was especially hard on me but I did get a grasp of things by the second and the first week of my second month, my reporting manager got me a cake, and a gift voucher. We had a small ceremony and he appreciated the efforts that I was putting in. No, there weren’t any significant numbers or substantial differences in strategies at that point. But his words and the appreciation from everyone made me work harder than I would ever have.
That’s what recognitions do, it empowers an employee and makes them give their best. A recognition program is essentially an investment in the organization itself. Never doubt the transformative power that employee recognition has.
How would you feel if you get a recognition mail randomly? Especially when you haven’t received anything when you were giving it all you have got? Recognition should be specific to the behavior or achievement being recognized. Vague or generic recognition can seem insincere and may not have the desired effect. This also throws light on the previous point that we discussed, timeliness, it shouldn’t be too little too late.
Sending recognition emails and conducting award functions when the employee retention rates are dipping is like dipping a biscuit in chai and then sending another biscuit on a rescue mission. It just gets messy! Recognition should be sincere and genuine. Employees can often tell when recognition is insincere, and it can have the opposite effect of what was intended.
This is where most organizations get it wrong. Employee recognition is NOT a once-in-a-blue-moon thing. It should be frequent and ongoing. Consistent recognition can create a culture of appreciation and motivate employees to continue performing at a high level.
Unconscious or conscious bias is very common in the workplace. One of the most fundamental principles of employee recognition is inclusivity which is heavily dependent on zero prejudice. Recognition should be inclusive and not limited to certain employees or teams. All employees should have the opportunity to be recognized for their contributions.
How to Create the Perfect Employee Recognition Program?
Let us take a look at how employee recognition programs can be crafted:
Creating the best employee recognition program requires careful planning and consideration of various factors that can make your program effective and meaningful. Here are some steps to create a successful employee recognition program:
- Set clear goals: Before starting, define the purpose of your employee recognition program. What are you trying to achieve? What specific behaviors or achievements do you want to reward? Having a clear goal will help you design a program that is aligned with your organizational objectives.
- Get employee feedback: Ask your employees what they value most in a recognition program. This can help you create a program that resonates with them and is more likely to be effective.
- Make it timely: Remember what we discussed in the fundamental principles. Recognition should be given as soon as possible after the desired behavior or achievement occurs. This ensures that the recognition is still relevant and reinforces the desired behavior.
- Be specific: Again, taking from the fundamental principles, when recognizing employees, be specific about what they did well and how it contributed to the company’s success. This helps employees understand what behaviors or achievements are valued and encourages them to repeat them.
- Offer multiple recognition options: People are motivated by different things, so offer a variety of recognition options, such as cash bonuses, gift cards, public recognition, or extra time off. This allows employees to choose a reward that is meaningful to them.
- Make it fair: Ensure that the recognition program is fair and transparent. Make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to be recognized for their achievements or behaviors.
- Celebrate successes: Celebrate successes as a team, so everyone can share in the excitement and feel motivated to achieve more.
- Evaluate and adjust: This is a pivotal step that is overlooked by most of the organizations. You cannot assume that recognitions are making people happy. You have to ensure that you are doing it in the right way and gauging feedback will help you with the same. Monitor the effectiveness of your recognition program regularly and adjust it as needed based on feedback and results.
By following these steps, you can create a recognition program that is effective, meaningful, and appreciated by your employees.
In conclusion, employee recognition is a critical component of any successful workplace. By creating a thoughtful and personalized recognition program that is timely, meaningful, and inclusive, companies can boost employee morale, retention, and productivity. As a content marketing manager with over 10 years of experience, I have seen firsthand the positive impact that a kickass recognition program can have on the bottom line. So don’t wait – start recognizing your employees today!