There have been various studies that document how employee recognition is one of the most powerful performance enhancer in the workplace. Employee recognition programs have been proven to help employees become happier, productive & engaged. All of which eventually leads to better customer satisfaction for businesses.
Despite the research, many companies are yet to realize the importance of revamping employee recognition. They are so focused on making sure they achieve their goals that they often tend to forget the very people responsible for making their goals achievable. Such companies still rely solely on traditional methods of employee recognition such as 1-on-1 meeting.
Although at some point these methods may have been effective, today the recognition mechanism needs to be more all round in nature. There are many problems with the traditional employee recognition process:
1. Only the manager and the employee know what has been discussed behind closed doors.
Pro tip: Announce all accomplishments publicly so that everyone becomes aware of it. Helps other employees to understand and replicate performance that is being recognized by the management.
2. Not understanding how employees want to be recognized
Pro tip: Personalize your recognition approach to suit the employee’s expectations. It makes a significant impact on employees and makes them feel truly valued.
3. Not maintaining consistency, i.e. recognizing performance only the first time targets are achieved. Basically, if the targets are achieved in the next assessment period, it is considered normal.
Pro tip: Once the behaviors and actions to be recognized and rewarded are identified, make sure they are actually being recognized and rewarded in a consistent manner.
The management needs to be always on the lookout to identify better ways to recognize employee achievements so that they can get more positive results for the company. Initiate different activities within the company to encourage employee engagement.
Feedback or recognition should never be unidirectional i.e. from manager to employee. And it should definitely not be given only during the annual performance reviews. Both should be an ongoing process and flow freely across various levels and departments of the organisation.
Many organizations are making significant attempts to recognize employees, but they’re not quite adept at mastering the right techniques.
Ways to encourage more frequent employee recognition
Encourage personal development
Some employees consistently strive to better themselves. It could be by learning new courses or getting specific certifications.
The management can help such individuals identify these courses or occasionally send out emails about them. After all, it is all about assisting them in accomplishing their goals sooner. If possible, some companies sponsor – either fully or partially such courses. These steps go a long way in making sure employees appreciate the efforts taken by the management to develop them.
Acknowledge team efforts
There are many companies out there who have the prestigious Employee of the Month/Quarter/Year award. This can actually have a negative effect on the rest of the individuals within the same team/department.
Make sure that if it was a team effort, you acknowledge that in addition to individual performance as well. It helps the team build confidence and strive for better results.
In the past only managers reviewed the performance of their team members. Instead, encourage team members to vote or nominate one of their own who they believe has performed exceptionally well during the assessment period.
Gamification has recently been gaining prominence when it comes to performance management. With gamifications, employees can give badges or medals to their peers for reaching certain milestones. These badges can also be pinned to their profile for a week or month depending on its level.
Recognize non-professional milestones
Celebrating your employees’ birthday or publicly congratulating them on their marathon wins/finish goes a long way. This ideally helps in making sure that the company also appreciates these personal milestones that are important to the employees.
The good old 1-on-1
While it is necessary to incorporate all the above mentioned methods, never underestimate the value of a good old 1-on-1 meeting. Managers can personally congratulate these employees and get insights about how they achieved that feat. If in the future they ever stumble, remind them of their strengths so that they are motivated to get back on their feet.
That’s the beauty of recognition. By simply acknowledging what already exists, companies can be assured of consistent exemplary performance.
Another piece of advice: Take the efforts to explain how their contribution helped the company with its goals. It helps employees see how their efforts are tied in with the bigger picture. Thus, it is highly recommended that a culture of regular recognition be embedded in the workplace and watch how it impacts the company’s bottom line.