Did you know that a company with 10,000 employees that has a culture of recognition can save $16.1 million in turnover costs … annually! And when companies provide their employees with appropriate recognition workers are 56% less likely to shop around for new jobs.
Unfortunately, according to a study by Workhuman and Gallup, employees say there’s nowhere near enough recognition going around, which is in stark contrast to what leaders and managers think. Companies may think they’re doing a good job with recognition, but in their employees’ minds, they’re dropping the ball.
Having a documented recognition program shows employees their company values them which in turn makes employees want to do their best work. It’s a simple way to invest in your employees and your company.
Unfortunately, 81% of leaders admitted employee recognition isn’t a priority for their companies. This is a big problem because when employees feel recognized they’re:
- 73% less likely to feel “always” or “very often” burned out
- Five times as likely to be connected to their culture, and
- Four times as likely to be engaged.
But to get the positive benefits out of a recognition program, the recognition must be authentic, fulfilling to employees’ needs and expectations, equitable, deeply rooted in the culture and personalized.
Of the thousands of front-line workers to managers and senior leaders surveyed, they all agree on one key factor: “Recognition isn’t just a nice-to-have; it is a core ‘human’ element in the employee experience that drives engagement, performance and retention.”
So, if you want to get a leg up on the competition during the Great Resignation, it’s time to make sure your recognition program is the best it can be.
5 pillars of a stellar recognition program
Every little thing you do that recognizes an employee or a group of employees matters. That means simple “thank-you’s” to big-time awards have an impact. But the impacts aren’t equal.
To have the maximum impact, recognition must be:
- Fulfilling – Each employee has a different need for recognition, so we can’t give you a formula that says if you recognize an employee X times personally and X times publicly you have a successful recognition program. The key is to do it consistently, so employees feel valued as people. According to the study, employees said they like to be recognized a few times a month. However, the researchers said this should be a bare minimum, as they found “too much” recognition doesn’t exist … that is as long as it’s genuine and given appropriately.
- Authentic – No matter how many times you tell someone how great they are or what a fantastic job they did if it doesn’t feel authentic, it’s going to fall on deaf ears. To make it sink in, it must be meaningful. Employees must associate the recognition with themselves, their job or their team. Recognition that isn’t authentic can play against managers and organizations causing distrust.
- Equitable – Employees can see right away when they’re being shorted when it comes to recognition. People have an innate need to be treated fairly. When they aren’t, it damages their overall work experience. Recognition can also reveal to employees where their company’s biases are toward certain groups, which can have huge repercussions.
- Embedded in the culture – It’s one thing to have a recognition program, it’s another thing completely to have a culture of recognition. And employees can see the difference between the two quite easily. A culture based on recognition is one where “gratitude, praise and appreciation are freely given, regularly received and reach all corners of the organization,” according to the study. People feel empowered to join in delivering praise and showing appreciation.
- Personalized. This may seem like a huge undertaking. How in the world can you personalize recognition for everyone? It’s simple. Just ask people what they want. For some people money talks, for others, they’d prefer something more personal. Companies that provide a variety of ways to recognize people give the flexibility required to ensure the recognition hits its target. Where the recognition happens too makes a difference. Some people like public recognition, others want private recognition. Only 7% of study respondents said they prefer public recognition. That’s why technology-mediated recognition often strikes a good balance. Everyone sees it, but it’s much lower-key for those who don’t like to be in the spotlight.
Implementing a top-notch recognition program is a powerful retention tool for organizations. Employees who don’t get recognized and don’t feel a connection to their organization are at high risk of jumping ship.