No matter if the economy is in an upswing or a downturn, one thing remains constant: retaining valuable employees. Valuable employees can help your business to grow during good times. They can also help you to remain competitive when the economy is challenging. But retaining employees such as these hinges on more than just providing a salary and benefits. Employee recognition programs can help give your company an edge when it comes to employee satisfaction.
Employee Recognition is More Than a Pizza Party
Some companies assume that small and generic gestures like buying a stack of pizzas for lunch once in a while is all they need to do to keep employees happy. While the occasional pizza party can be good for fellowship and office morale, it’s a drop in the ocean of employee recognition.
Specific, individual acknowledgment of employee behavior, performance, actions, or efforts will go a long way toward creating a company culture that employees don’t want to leave.
The Benefits of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a hot topic in many companies – and with good reason. Engaged employees see the big picture and actively work toward fulfilling business goals. They are positive and proactive, and they communicate and collaborate with their coworkers. In fact, engaged employees have a positive impact on every facet of your business. Consider the benefits of an engaged workforce:
- Increased individual and companywide productivity
- Reduced employee turnover
- Greater customer satisfaction
- Greater profit
Still, it’s astounding how many companies ignore the means and methods of employee engagement. Simple recognition of effort can go a long way toward helping an employee feel invested in their work and in the success of the company. And yet, management often fails in this regard. As a result, employees who don’t receive sufficient praise for their efforts in the workplace are twice as likely to seek other employment with a year. Can you afford the continual cycle of recruitment?
Recruiting for new hires can be simultaneously an exciting and tedious process. While this is an opportunity to bring a unique set of talents and skills into your workforce, it can also cost your company a significant amount of time and money. On average, it takes 42 days and costs $4,129 to fill a single position.
Multiply those numbers by the number of positions you must fill in any given year, and you can see how ongoing employee recruitment can be a significant expense to your business. Far better to retain the employees you have, and boost their contributions, by instituting an employee recognition program.
Creating the Change You Wish to See
Consider this scenario from a recent tv show: a mother wanted to be able to drop her kids off at school using the drop-off lane designated for honor roll students. The mother went home and replicated the special honor roll sticker and placed it on her car just to be able to use that drop-off lane. Once her child saw the sticker, he believed he made the honor roll. Only then did he become a model student, studying all hours of the night and excitedly awaiting a special honor roll recognition night at the school. This fictional scenario demonstrates a central truth: each of us wants to be recognized.
Perception is everything, and positive recognition motivates us to do our best. We feel valued and appreciated when we realize our work is not meaningless. Successfully building employee engagement begins with sincere, thoughtful, and personal gratitude extended from management toward employees. For some in upper management, this might seem counterintuitive – aren’t salary and benefits enough for employee satisfaction?
Monetary Value vs. Emotional Value
The assumption that salary and benefits are the only criteria that keep employees loyal and engaged is shortsighted. While a competitive salary and first-class benefits are definitely attractive, most employees also seek meaning in their work, as well as appreciation for their efforts. This emotional value can mean the difference between employees who put in minimal effort and ones who are invested in your company’s mission.
Positive office culture hinges on factors such as pride, fairness and respect, and being appreciated. Employee recognition programs can help in boosting these factors, particularly when management gets involved. Seek to show your staff appreciation for their efforts, and your company can soar!