Employee recognition and rewards can have a significant positive impact on your company culture and retention rate.
According to Jason Lindstrom, CEO of Bucketlist Rewards, when your employees are deeply aligned around meaningful purpose and vision, and are acknowledged for living your culture and values, you can lower your turnover by as much as 40%.
That’s what happened to the Omaha, NE-based Home Instead Senior Care after it rolled out a series of employee performance awards, he said.
However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach employee recognition. In an episode of HRMorning‘s “Voices of HR” podcast, titled “Employee Recognition: The Key to Building a World-Class Culture,” Lindstrom advised against pursuing “an ad-hoc program where you just … ask mangers to start recognizing staff … (just) because (you) had low scores in an annual employee engagement survey.”
The reason: If some managers are good at it and others are not, the inconsistency could end up hurting morale. Also, because of their day-to-day responsibilities, managers may miss a lot of the outstanding work being done.
“One of the best ways to bring values alive is through a peer-to-peer recognition program, where employees can recognize one another for living the company values,” Lindstrom said. “When staff are recognized for living company values, you can increase employee engagement by 25%,” he said.
Crafting an employee recognition plan
To roll out a successful program, “it’s really important to define some goals up front. What is the purpose of the program?” said Lindstrom. “Some of the common goals I hear are things like … roll out some new values inside the organization. … Another really common one is to break down silos.”
It’s also important to consider the demographics of your workforce and how they’ll be interacting with your program. What are their favorite communication tools? For example, an employee recognition program for a tech company might live mostly on a channel in an instant messaging platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams. For other organizations, maybe “hero stories” shared in email blasts or the opening minutes of companywide meetings would work better.
And do you want to tailor the program to recognize innovation, or spotlight exceptional customer care, sales or safety performance? Maybe all of these sound good to you.
In addition, keep in mind that not all employees appreciate public recognition, so surveying how employees want to be rewarded so that they feel valued is a good idea.