Letters of praise, commemorative plaques, the branded coffee mug – may not appear to be of value to employees, but when it comes time to clean up or de-clutter our offices or homes, these items are generally among the treasures we salvage. It’s a fact that we all value and need recognition for a job well done.
So powerful are employee recognition programs that a planned consistent program can actually boost employee productivity by between 15-25 per cent.
Just as interesting, studies indicate that companies with a strong internal communications focus increase morale, employee retention, productivity and profits. Just think, then, how powerful a planned consistent and well-communicated recognition program can be. Communications plays a significant role in all three key elements in building a recognition program- monetary and non-monetary reward, openly praising employees and communicating and celebrating successes.
Imagine if your birthday wasn’t acknowledged by your closest friends or not celebrated. It’s the same with employee rewards and recognition.
A job well done must be openly praised and recognized in a timely way to have impact. Off-site meetings are excellent venues to share successes and recognition. So are staff meetings, emails, a personal letter of thank you from the CEO along with recognition in an employee newsletter, a special parking space designated for the ‘employee of the month’ and of course that plaque presented in a public forum are all visible non-monetary ways to recognize employee contributions. Some awards, such as a citizenship award for example, may warrant mention in the local community newspaper.
Middle market companies may overlook rewards and recognition as a significant part of employee communications. However, while large companies have entire departments devoted to employee communications, some middle market companies may overlook the importance of communicating effectively with employees when it comes to sharing the company vision, or latest strategy.
This is also common with employee rewards and recognition programs. When reviewing various tactics used by a mid-sized company to show recognition, the CEO expressed frustration that the employees took the programs for granted and accepted them as part of their due, when the real reason was that the company programs were ad hoc and had not been packaged or communicated as part of an overall planned and consistent program.
Involve employees in the development of the program.
If you want your employees to share in the excitement of your company and become motivated, involve employees from the programs inception and include representatives from all employee groups on a planning team. If your program is up and running, involve employees in reviewing your process, that way employees not only provide feedback and insight into the development of a program, but become goodwill ambassadors of the program relaying company messages back to the workplace. Brand your recognition programs.
One newly merged national company that wanted to encourage a new entrepreneurial approach among its store managers, created an Academy Awards type celebration evening and awards program. It used a catchy and meaningful name for the awards not only for the awards, but also to characterize its top performers. Now the branded name has become synonymous with excellence and the employees as leaders. A prominent location on the main floor of the head office also displays the award trophies and names of the winners.
So when planning your recognition program, keep in mind that even long after that letter or plaque from the boss or team leader has been misplaced, the memory of where and how that message of praise was celebrated and recognized will be strong.