What’s the one thing successful businesses and Great Place to Work winners have in common? They agree on the vital importance of employee recognition. Whether it’s celebrating daily tasks or the big wins, showing gratitude is essential for managers and peers alike. In fact, employee recognition programs can help boost employee engagement and productivity as well as have a positive impact on company culture. If you’re reading this, you’re already making steps toward transforming your company culture for the better! Read on to learn why recognizing the good work your employees do — and rewarding them for it — helps your company thrive.
What Is Employee Recognition?
A form of positive feedback and reinforcement, recognition is a way of showing gratitude beyond telling someone they’ve met a performance target. Employee recognition is an after-the-fact display of appreciation, and types of recognition can include:
- Peer-to-peer recognition, usually in informal settings (think handwritten notes and social platform shout-outs)
- Tangible items from management, such as eCards and gift cards
- Awards ceremonies, either formal or informal, that recognize employees’ special achievements like promotions and work anniversaries
Why Employee Recognition Matters
Recognition makes us feel good — literally. When we’re praised, it activates dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter in the pleasure center of our brains. Data shows that positive feedback is essential to our overall well-being. It also helps us flourish. When we’re in a positive environment that makes us feel safe and connected, we’re more likely to engage with others and our work.
The type of praise is also important — focusing on processes and improvements rather than inherent skills helps us challenge ourselves to continue putting the work in.
How a Lack of Recognition Affects Employees — and What to Do About It
Most businesses want to maintain good reputations, retain and engage employees, and attract prospective team members. But this takes practice and effort. One of those efforts: establishing an employee recognition program.
Without regular recognition, employees may feel underappreciated, or not appreciated at all. This affects company morale, which is critical for productivity. Lower morale can lead to more employee turnover, which creates unnecessary costs.
On the flip side, praising great work helps increase job satisfaction, which will increase profits. It also encourages employees to maintain higher standards — when they feel valued, they’re more likely to submit high-quality work.
By utilizing a program that regularly recognizes employees for their contributions, creativity, and teamwork, you can not only reduce turnover, you can transform your work culture into one where employees switch from surviving to thriving. A thriving workplace culture is better for everyone involved. You’ll inspire them to reach higher and go further — for themselves, for others, and for their organizations. That’s a win-win…win!
How Needs, Meaning, and Recognition Intersect in the Workplace
According to the motivational theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and safety need to be met before people can focus on other needs higher up in the pyramid.
What does this mean in the workplace? When employees feel secure at their jobs, they can shift their focus to their psychological needs, such as a sense of belonging, purpose, and accomplishment — which employee recognition can give them. With these needs met, they can concentrate on their needs for self-fulfillment and self-actualization, which can help them realize their potential and excel in their roles.
The driving factor for job satisfaction? It’s often being recognized for contributions in the workplace.
While employee recognition may mean initiatives, numbers, and statistics for you, it means something different for your employees — namely that a little acknowledgement goes a long way. And no matter the job role, the consensus is that recognition needs to be genuine. An automated one-size-fits-all program has its place, but it’s limited, and it doesn’t cultivate the authentic, meaningful change that a culture of regular praise creates.
Bottom line: by recognizing employees for their contributions, you help satisfy their psychological and self-fulfillment needs while creating a culture filled with genuine and meaningful moments of gratitude.
How You Can Show Employees They’re Valued
No matter the size of your workplace, showing employee recognition to everyone can feel daunting. That’s why we’re here to help! Here are a handful of employee recognition ideas and tips:
- Show gratitude to employees on a broader scale for their day-to-day tasks and progress, like praising them in team meetings and awarding bonuses to everyone based on business success
- On an individual level, you can celebrate employees for work that goes above their job specification or has a high impact on the business
- Use personal peer-to-peer touchpoints through employee nominations, which is a great way to nurture a culture of recognition as well as a forward-thinking way of recognizing success
- Offer gift cards, cash incentives, or other perks, which will help your program gain momentum (Bonus: once it’s a part of daily office life, employees will do the hard work for you.)
- Hold regular nominations, which ensures no achievement goes unnoticed and helps employees feel great
- Celebrate loyalty, which is an achievement in itself! Competitors frequently scout great workers, and your employee has chosen to stay with you for a reason. Make sure they know how much you appreciate them for it!
- Offer extra holiday pay, bonuses, or shopping vouchers for every milestone
- Commemorate life milestones such as marriages and birthdays
Make a Positive Impact with Employee Recognition
If you’re ready to transform your work culture and have a positive impact on your employees through encouragement and recognition, we’d love to help you get started. We provide custom-fit solutions, proactive nudges, real-time reporting, and more to help your workplace. Request a demo from us today!