Employee recognition can seem like a minefield too difficult to navigate; how much is too much? What’s the best way to do it? What sort of things are recognition worthy? Should we have a formal program, or is a pat on the back enough? In the end, what’s the point?
These can seem like easy excuses to avoid showing your employees the recognition they deserve, but it would be to your own detriment. Employee recognition is essential in supporting your employees, and often pushes them go the extra mile. A recent survey even found that 78% of US workers felt being recognised motivated them to do their jobs. This means that forsaking employee recognition means you’re actively losing out on some major benefits. That’s why we put together this guide, to help show how important employee recognition is to your employees and company.
It’s the silent drainer of your company’s productivity; absenteeism. Most of us are guilty of taking a sickie when we really had no good reason to, and while it may seem innocent once or twice, it can quickly escalate. In fact, absenteeism has risen by 7% since 2010, costing the Australian economy a huge $33billion each year. This means that you should avoid giving your employees reasons to stay at home. You can do this by recognising their individual efforts, and give them the very real impression that they’re actively contributing to the company’s key strategy. This decreases the incentive they have to take time off work, and increases their sense of responsibility. The bottom line is that your employees will actually be at work when they’re meant to be, and will cut excessive and unneeded absences from their schedule.
Ever coasted through your job simply because you thought it wouldn’t matter? 69% of employees claimed that they would work harder if given better appreciation for it. This means that you could be missing out on great work simply because your employees feel they’re overlooked, and therefore, what’s really the point in doing it at all? This is more common in larger companies, where employees can feel overwhelmed by the mediocrity of daily routine and lost in the crowd. It therefore comes down to managers to prevent your employees from thinking someone else will pick up the slack if they underperform at work. Make an effort to consistently recognise little efforts as well as big ones; try to make at least one act of recognition a day to maintain motivation and boost productivity in the long run.
Have you ever had a rude waiter, or an apathetic sales girl? Chances are that they’re taking out their frustrations with the job and/or manager on their customer. This is a mutually unproductive relationship you should work to break. 41% of companies that demonstrated peer-to-peer recognition noted a positive increase in customer satisfaction, thus revealing a clear link between the two. Employees that are recognised for their role are more willing to perform higher than what the job requires, and this translates into their efforts with customers. Keeping your employees happy is therefore a great and inexpensive way to keep your customers happy.
Employee turnover, much like absenteeism, will always be present in the workforce. Employees will always have reasons for leaving their place of work, and many of these reasons are unavoidable and indisputable. On the other hand, searching for new talent, training them and waiting for them to rise to the required level of productivity is an infamously lengthy and expensive endeavour, costing between 30% to 400% of the employee’s salary (depending on seniority and experience levels) in recruitment fees and productivity losses. So while turnover can’t be avoided, it should be reduced where it can. Employee recognition can be used to bolster those employees who might otherwise be looking for reasons to leave. In fact, companies with highly effective recognition platforms experienced 31% lower voluntary turnover than companies without. Therefore, a minimal effort of recognition helps secure your employees’ investment in their role and saves you the trouble of hunting down another person to fill the role.
You can be tempted to avoid employee recognition; if nothing else, it can be an awkward effort especially if you’re not used to it. Ultimately however, the benefits you stand to gain from showing consistent and respectful recognition to your employees is well worth any slight discomfort you may feel. Create a work culture where recognition is common among all employees, and you can transform your company from the inside out.