Recognition can be a powerful way of building the level of engagement and retention that is foundational to a thriving culture. In the United States alone, the cost of low engagement and the corresponding lost productivity is estimated to be $550 billion.
Compared to disengaged employees, engaged employees experience more job satisfaction, productivity, and are generally more committed to work - boosting the amount of effort that they put into their roles.
One key way to boost engagement is through recognition strategies. Recognition is the key to creating a culture where people feel valued, appreciated,and like their contributions matter. Here are three key strategies for using recognition to ultimately strengthen your bottom line.
Determine the Participants:
Is your recognition program going to be peer-to-peer? What levels will be included? Will only certain departments participate? Can managers and employees give recognition to each other or does it only flow in one direction? These are some of the factors to think through when designing a program.
Demonstrate the Value:
Although implementing a program where employees can be routinely recognized by their managers and peers seems intuitive, any new program roll-out should be explained. Some people may perceive it as an additional burden to their workload - but by demonstrating the vision and the value, they'll be eager to participate.
Build and Keep Interest:
The best recognition systems are designed to keep the participants engaged, and continuing to give each other recognition. Some systems use points that accrue into prizes, or similar rewards. Offering rewards at semi-frequent intervals is helpful - if people have to wait too long, they'll lose interest.
Keep it Simple:
Rules that are overly complicated and formulas that are difficult to understand will cause people to disengage from the recognition and rewards program - keep it simple. Describe the desired behaviors, the rewards and the logistical steps for earning or redeeming the reward.
Assess and Improve It:
How will you know when the program is working as intended? Are you finding that some employees are gaining more recognition than others? What other trends can you identify and how can you act on the data? Assess the program effectiveness and using that data to improve the program is key - and continuous.
The best part of recognition isn't that employees can earn rewards, though - it's that it makes people feel good. In addition to gaining prizes or points, employees are also strengthening their connections and social ties, reinforcing and repeating positive behaviors and generally improving the atmosphere on a broader level. All of these factors are what will ultimately drive to the increase in engagement, retention and productivity that strengthen your bottom line.