The ongoing Great Resignation demonstrates that employees are tired of contributing to organizations that don’t seem to care about their work or wellbeing. These days, businesses have a simple choice: invest in employee recognition or endure an employee exodus.
Fortunately, an employee recognition program doesn’t have to be complex. Business leaders should meet with their workforce to discuss methods of recognition that make sense, and they should develop a program that includes the following most effective features:
1. Multiple incentive programs
Different people are motivated by different incentives. One employee might by driven by an interest in high salary, while another might feel most encouraged by the opportunity for community recognition and praise. Thus, a single incentive program is never going to be enough to inspire an entire workforce to the highest levels of performance. The best employee recognition programs include a number of incentive programs to ensure that every worker is given a good reason to do their best.
2. Democratic participation
Employees should not be compelled to participate in a workplace program that they have no ability to influence. It’s important that business leaders invite workers to weigh in on the functionality of the recognition program. With insights from employees, leaders can produce a more effective recognition program that workers are more likely to join and enjoy. As the recognition program unfolds, it is important to continue receiving feedback from participating employees to ensure that there are no obstacles interfering with the program.
3. Clear objectives
A recognition program needs to be founded on an organizational goal, and business leaders need to understand that goal to develop processes within the program to achieve it. Some common goals for employee recognition programs include:
- Establishing a positive workplace culture and work environment for all workers
- Motivating employees to the highest levels of performance
- Reinforcing desired behaviors like happiness and cooperation within the workforce
What’s more, business leaders should make their stated objectives clear to workers. Then, all parties interacting with the recognition program have reasonable expectations and can contribute to the program’s success.
4. Reliable measurement and reasonable standards
To track a recognition program’s progress toward success, business leaders need to identify methods of measuring employee performance as well as performance levels worthy of recognition. When a recognition program does not measure performance accurately, employees will become frustrated by the program and disengage, ensuring the program’s failure.
Similarly, when a program’s standards are not well-defined or else unfair, employees will rebel, and organizational goals related to the recognition program will never be achieved. Working alongside employees in the development of the recognition program should help business leaders identify methods of measurement and strategies for standards that are suitable.
5. Effective rewards
Rewards need to be relevant to employee achievement. For example, a worker celebrating their first year at the company should not earn a reward identical or superior to a worker who has reached a decade of service. Generally, it’s wise for business leaders to think critically about what motivates individual employees before deciding on a reward for a specific accomplishment. In some cases, employees might not need physical rewards at all; praise, additional responsibilities, extra training and more can be enough recognition to reach the goals of the program. By tailoring recognition to workers, businesses can spend less money while ensuring greater positive impact.
6. Relevant values
Finally, a solid and successful recognition program should further establish an organization’s shared values. Increasingly, employees want their workplaces to share their values, such as environmental sustainability, honesty and transparency, diversity and inclusion, passion and more. A recognition program should communicate a company’s values to its workforce, helping workers to feel more connected to their employer.
Recognition is a vital process within a business, and business leaders need to devise programs that ensure employees feel seen and appreciated. By borrowing features from the best employee recognition programs, business leaders can give their workers the rewards and praise they deserve for contributing to business success.