Employee recognition – It matters in today’s workplace

If you’re not convinced that creating a recognition-rich culture for your employees can really impact your organizations productivity, think again. Research shows that the number one reason why 78% of people leave their jobs is lack of appreciation, while 37% of people say appreciation is the number one motivator to do great work (Sturt and Nordstrom, 2016). A study conducted by Bersin & Associates on modern recognition programs revealed that companies who scored in the top 20% for building a recognition-rich culture had 31% lower voluntary turnover rates (Llopis, 2012).

But shouldn’t employees be appreciative that their organization has employed them in the first place? Well yes, they should. But, the reality is that employees in the workforce today have no incentive to be loyal, innovative, or motivated to work hard. That is especially true when you factor in working for an organization where employees feel undervalued, unappreciated and unrecognized. In a world where people are fighting to stay relevant, it’s no wonder that a huge factor driving productivity is recognition. In fact, “employees who get recognized tend to have higher self-esteem, more confidence, more willingness to take on new challenges, and more eagerness to be innovative” (Mason, 2001).

It’s like valentines day, but in a work appropriate kind of way

One of the best ways I’ve heard employee appreciation explained is through equating it to Valentine’s Day. We’ve all learned from a young age that Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love and gratefulness in our relationships. If you were to accidentally forget Valentine’s Day or make the conscientious decision to avoid falling into the deep dark hole of wasteful spending that is the Hallmark Card industry, it’s not the end of the world but your sweetheart may be disappointed. On the contrary, if you go above and beyond to profess your love for your sweetie just one day per year, your love for them may come into question.

Now apply that analogy to how you treat your employees. A leadership team may genuinely appreciate their employees year round, but if that’s not implicitly communicated or expressed the “feeling” leadership holds toward their employees is basically useless. In the same sense, if you only acknowledge the efforts, talent, and results of your employees one day per year, odds are employee morale is low and turnover rates are high.

The good news is, today organizations are beginning to recognize the importance of creating a reasonable balance between employee contributions to the organization and the organization’s contributions to employees. Companies like REI, Google, Zappos, Twitter, Facebook, and Southwest Airlines are at the top of the leader’s board with regards to creating a recognition-rich culture year round.

With young, bright talent seeking opportunities that fit both professionally, and culturally, it’s hard to ignore the importance of keeping your employees happy. When adding technology and connectivity into the mix via social channels and the internet there’s an added layer of visibility. Candidates now have a full view into your organization before ever stepping foot in the door. Remember: employees are a company’s greatest asset.

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