Is Your Lack of Recognition Impacting Employee Satisfaction?

Because you are an enlightened employer, you no doubt have an employee recognition program. But have you taken a close look lately at whether your employee recognition is having its desired effect?

A recent study showed that companies spend one-to-two percent of payroll on employee recognition, including plaques, watches and other awards. That’s quite a lot of cash! However, 87 percent of those programs focused solely on employee tenure. Employees were being awarded for longevity, rather than performance. The research also showed that tenure rewards had almost no effect on performance.

And why should they? If you’ve been at a company for a couple of years and you attend a ceremony where veterans are rewarded simply for hanging around, how is that going to inspire you to excellence?

These programs, a holdover from an earlier era, may not even improve employee retention—how many people are likely to stay in a job where they are not appreciated just to get the ten-year plaque?

Employee of the month programs are almost as ineffective. That picture hanging above the water fountain for 30 days is likely to have the rest of your staff bristling with irritation as they wonder “why him?” why not me?”—not striving to emulate the recipient.

But employee recognition, done right, can have a positive impact on your bottom line—and on employee satisfaction company-wide. Here are a few tips for effectively recognizing excellent work.

Be specific. Don’t recognize great employees; recognize great service. Or great performance. Or a single great act. Make sure the employee and everyone around him knows just what it is that you are congratulating him for.

Be timely. Don’t wait around until the end of the year to recognize great work. Call it out when it happens. And don’t worry if the person receiving praise isn’t always a model employee; you are recognizing a job well done, not the employee’s entire history. Chances are, once you have noticed and rewarded good work, the employee will up his overall game.

Don’t sweat the ceremony. Frequent, small signs of appreciation and words of praise are more effective than infrequent awards delivered with pomp and circumstance. Be personal, be specific and don’t be stingy.

Facilitate peer recognition. Research is finding social recognition programs to be quite effective. After all, it’s the people who work alongside you who see what you do each day. And praise from peers can really boost self-esteem and performance. Employees are given virtual points to assign to one another in recognition of good work. The points are publicly visible online. Tie the criteria to company values, and you have a great tool for creating a culture of excellence in your workplace.

Employee recognition is one of the best tools you have for increasing employee satisfaction AND improving performance. And it’s absolutely free!

Professional Staffing Group is more than just a staffing firm…we are trusted advisers to many of our clients. Our rich experience makes us great problem solvers and consultants on a wide range of staffing-related topics. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you increase productivity, performance and employee satisfaction.