What do we mean by “employee recognition” and why is it so important for the proper functioning of our company?
Employee recognition is the act of expressing appreciation for a given employee’s contributions to the company. In other words, telling the employee what they do well and how those things are helping the company.
Why is this so important?
Because our need to be appreciated, respected and recognized is very well documented from a psychological point of view . When that happens, our motivation and our integration into the company grows, and therefore our work improves as well.
For this reason, many departments have created their own employee recognition programs. With them, we collaborate in creating a psychologically safe and welcoming environment for employees. And, in turn, by having more confidence, the employee feels safe to develop creative and innovative traits within the context of the job.
Let’s review the main keys to a good employee recognition program. Starting with your benefits.
Benefits of employee recognition
Let’s start by reviewing the enormous benefits that an employee recognition program can bring to the company:
Improved productivity: An employee who sees his work recognized and valued, causes them to work more willingly and freely on what they have been assigned.
Improves morale: Statistics and common sense make it clear: a person whose work is recognized will be more willing to continue in that job and improve.
Helps identify the best workers and keep them: With an employee recognition program the Human Resources department can get an idea of what each employee’s individual work is and what its impact is. In this way, the bullet-points of their work are better identified, which allows them to give them fair recognition and keep them happy. Ultimately, employees will tend to stay with a company if they feel they are fairly recognized.
Criteria and objectives of a good employee recognition program
A good employee recognition program should make clear what action and behaviorswill be rewarded. If you are creating such a program, you should always ask yourself the following questions:
What will we reward-recognize? A fundamental point for the good functioning of any company: we must be clear about what behavior and conduct we are going to reward. Normally, they are those that coincide with the objective of the company.
How will we recognize the work? There are many ways to recognize work: from a kind word to a company gift. It will be necessary to make a classification according to objectives.
How often will we recognize it? It is important to recognize the work of others, but in the right measure. Recognizing everything, all the time, can only lead to the employee losing motivation. We must be selective.
Who should give such recognition? It’s not the same as being told by a co-worker that you have done well, as being told by the CEO of the company. The positive impact is much greater in the second case.
Establish a system of awards at different levels
Many may think that what an employee wants most as a reward is money / raise, etc. In other words, material elements. But this is not always the case. In fact, there are two essential types of recognition:
- Emblematic and verbal recognition
- Material advantages and cash prizes
Both are very important. Imagine that an employee recognition program would only give financial bonuses without any explanation from anyone. The whole system would be cold and distant. Instead, a mix of material reward plus verbal reward is key to keeping morale high.
Give voice and listen to feedback
Even if we know a lot about Human Resources, we can never know everything that others need/want/want.
When creating an employee recognition program it makes a lot of sense to ask the employees themselves what such a program would look like. What awards would they want to receive, in what form, and what kind of recognition.
Sending out anonymous surveys or conducting personalized interviews will help the Human Resources department to align its employee recognition system with the employees’ own expectations.
Make sure the program is effective
For an employee recognition program to be effective, there are some key factors to consider:
Equality: a well-formulated recognition program must be able to reward all employees in a balanced way. Imagine that one department receives all the recognition versus another department that receives rather little. That would be very demoralizing. We must seek to be equitable and the best way to do this is to propose a good recognition system a priori.
Visibility: Recognition, especially at the beginning of the program, should be public and transparent. In this way, the employee sees that theirrecognition is shown to others, which increases theirmorale. And others can see who and why they are being rewarded, which encourages them to work better to get their own awards
How to show recognition: Don’t stay on the virtual level. Recognition must be shown on a personal, face-to-face level, both in one-to-one meetings and in meetings of the whole team.
Measure the results of the recognition program
A good employee recognition program will have a direct impact on your productivity and performance. You can measure how recognition affects the performance of your employees to get a clear idea of which program elements work best to increase trust and, consequently, the employee’s creative productivity.
Use the data to identify weaknesses in the program (e.g., to identify isolated employees, or to identify awards that do not improve employee status) to constantly refine and improve it.
It is clear that having a good employee recognition program in place is a benefit on many levels.
A human resources specialist can use such a program as a catalyst for change in the employees’ organization, in increasing their morale and their desire. In essence, fair and well given recognition allows “everyone to go to one,” aligns goals and also increases overall well-being within the context of the company.