Employers struggle with keeping their employees motivated, engaged, and productive. HR teams often try everything under the sun to enrich the employee experience, from the Dundies to tacky casino nights. What many don’t realize is that the answer to all these problems is right under their nose: recognition.
More Than Work-versaries: The Case for Celebrating Wins Regularly
Your employees want to feel recognized and know that they’re actually doing a good job. Sadly, many companies only acknowledge another year of being chained to the desk as the benchmark for success. But as more millennials and Gen Zers enter the workforce, celebrating yearly work-versaries over smaller, more frequent wins won’t cut it. There’s a heaping helping of data to support the idea that employees need regular feedback and recognition. And the companies that give them what they want are raking it in:
- 69 percent of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.
- Companies using strategic recognition are 48 percent more likely to report high engagement.
- Companies spending ≥1 percent of payroll on recognition are 79 percent more likely to see better financial results.
But Seriously, What Kinds of Recognition Do Employees Seek?
Per Gallup, the most memorable types of employee recognition are:
- Public acknowledgment via an award, certificate or commendation
- Private recognition from a boss, peer, or customer
- Obtaining a high level of achievement through evaluations or reviews
- Promotion or increase in responsibility to show trust
- Monetary awards, such as a trip, prize, or pay increase
- Personal satisfaction or pride in work
Good news: aside from monetary awards, most of these don’t require big bucks, yet the ROI is ridiculous. By implementing tools and processes that help employees and managers quickly view, address, and celebrate employee wins, the company wins, too.
Aside from making it rain money, the most memorable methods of recognition aren’t hard to integrate into your employee development solution. For example, Bridge Perform empowers employees and managers to see, discuss, and high-five at all steps along the employee timeline from one centralized location.
You Get a Win! You Get a Car! And You Get a Car!
A recent study showed that employees are happiest when they receive some form of recognition every seven days. Leverage a 1:1 tool to set up recurring employee check-ins. Employees or managers can add agenda items or to-dos that can eventually become achievements when completed. It’s all right there for the employee and manager to easily access and own. And 1:1s are the perfect platform for discussing weak areas and wins, including:
- Company Goals - How do individual employee goals fit into the overall company strategy? How close are they to reaching the goals given to them? These are more than just talking points, they’re motivators. Especially when employees can see where they stand at any given moment.
- Achievements - Large or small, employee achievements need to be acknowledged and celebrated on the regular. These don’t have to be grand gestures and can range from kudos in your next 1:1 to giving props in your next town hall meeting or internal newsletter.
- Learning - Whether an employee is completing training to close skills gaps or investing in career development via self-directed learning, make learning milestones clear for both managers and employees. Certification programs are yet another way employees can stay motivated to learn more and move your business forward (see the No. 1 recognition tactic above).
Tools like Bridge Perform make it easy for managers and employees to keep tabs on the goals and activities that will ultimately impact the business, for better or worse.
Goodbye to Humblebragging: Benefits of a Centralized Platform for Tracking Wins
Leveraging a centralized tool for employee development has a host of other perks, too:
- Demonstrates That Your Employees’ Efforts are Valued - Employees want to feel more than just a number. Show them their worth with real-time tracking of their individual goals, wins, and areas for growth.
- Eliminates “Brag-About-Myself” Awkwardness - Bringing up a running list of achievements to a manager can be awkward and intimidating, and used to be a necessary evil to get recognition. With centralized tools like the employee journey, all wins are right there for both sides to reference and build on.
- Strengthens Employee-Manager Relationships - By fostering an open dialogue and transparency, regular 1:1s will help solidify the relationships between managers and employees, which can only improve retention. And a tool that allows you to set it, and not forget it, is crucial to keeping those check-ins a priority.
- Keeps Accurate and Detailed Records, Even if Management Changes - If a manager peaces out, employees aren’t left in the dust to prove themselves all over again. The new manager can quickly get up to speed on a employee’s progress and achievements without having to take the employee’s word for it or dig through a black hole of personnel files.
If you’re serious about stepping up your employee engagement game, start by making regular 1:1s a priority. While some of meetings may seem like a waste of time—and you know how everyone loves those–employee check-ins are the exact opposite. They’re just a few minutes a week that can lead to exponential benefits for your company.
But don’t stop there. Productive 1:1s are just the beginning. Make sure your employees don’t feel you’re ignoring their wins. While you might enjoy being the center of their work, humble yourself and make learning the biggest focus of your company culture.
Find out more about incorporating recognition into your company culture in our ebook, “Strong Culture, Strong Leaders.”