Even the best employees cannot perform well when they are not motivated enough. This is why employee recognition in the workplace has to be an innate part of any company’s culture. A human workplace is one that fosters a culture of recognition while empowering employees, strengthening working relationships and providing a clear purpose aligned with business goals.
So, how do you create a culture of recognition? For starters, it’s important to lead from the top. When managers either give recognition or amplify recognition from a peer, it reinforces the importance of that employee behavior. When employees see their managers acknowledging their peers or direct reports, they are more likely to recognize their teammates too.
It’s easier to send recognition when an employee stays late to finish a project or works over the weekend on a critical issue. Don’t forget about the employees who are performing well on a day-to-day basis, however. That work may also be critical to long-term business performance and success. Recognizing vital everyday actions reinforces them, motivates employees and boosts overall performance.
Employee recognition should be given frequently and in the moment. Consider putting shoutouts on the agenda for standing employee team meetings. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple “Thank you” or “Great job” on a project. What does matter is that employees are being recognized in front of their peers. If employees feel awkward speaking up, consider giving praise to those people first. The goal is to make recognition giving casual and timely. When employees know that shoutouts are built into every team meeting, they’ll likely come prepared to the meeting with acknowledgment for their peers.
If managers and employees send recognition one to three times each week, employee recognition becomes a natural part of company culture. It means employees are more likely to accept and respond to the recognition that they get. To be impactful and authentic, employee recognition should be given frequently and in the moment.
Across many industries, employee retention continues to be at the top of the list of workforce management challenges. Building a culture of recognition can help build loyalty in the modern job-hopping workforce. Most HR professionals have reported that their company’s recognition practices had a positive effect not only on retention but also on engagement, culture and employee happiness. Additionally, when recognition programs are linked to organizational values, the programs are more likely to lead to a higher perceived return on investment among employees. Rewarding employees for exemplifying organizational values demonstrates the organization’s commitment to those values.
Many employers strive to boost their brand through employee recognition programs, which in turn helps with recruitment efforts. Consider a sharable recognition program to help strengthen the employer brand. A shareable recognition program provides rewards and motivates employees to share their experiences with others via word-of-mouth or on their personal social media channels. For example, an employee might not share that they received a bonus with their friends and family on Facebook, but they might share photos from an experiential reward like a trip or cooking class. Think of experiences that you’d personally be excited to share publicly and lead with those. Shareable recognition programs can help build organic buzz, encourage employee ambassadors and differentiate your company from the competition.
Well-aligned employee recognition efforts are associated with employee retention and recruitment, reinforcement of organizational guiding beliefs and maintenance of a strong employer brand. Other common workplace programs that may help with culture management include health and wellness, learning and development, and celebrating employees’ life events.