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Importance of Employee Recognition

65% of employees reported a lack of recognition for their work in the last year and 70% of U.S. employees are not engaged in their work.[1] Yet, a majority (68%) of HR professionals believe employee recognition positively influences employee retention and would help with recruitment (56%).[2] So how can employers bridge the gap? One of the best solutions is to implement an employee recognition program.

Benefits of an employee recognition program include:

  • Positioning employees in-line with company values
  • Recruiting and retaining top talent
  • Fostering a healthy company culture
  • Increasing productivity
  • Boosting the bottom line

How to Create an Employee Recognition Program

Establish guidelines for recognition. The first step to developing an employee recognition program is establishing a foundation for its purpose. For example, explore what issues an employee recognition program can resolve and how those specific issues contribute to overall business objectives. Collect research-based data on the positive impacts of employee recognition (i.e., employee engagement, retention, productivity, morale, purpose), as well as the costs to administer such a program. For example, industry experts believe businesses should invest 1% of payroll in recognition and incorporate into recruiting strategies to make more of an impact.[3] Other factors you might want to consider are rewards and recognition software to integrate with existing tools to track and alert you to milestones, bonuses, and other important rewards and recognition dates.

Develop a team to support the mission. Once you have organizational management support, it is imperative to find leaders to implement the program by promoting, communicating, implementing, and reinforcing the program’s initiatives. Some leadership qualities may include:

  • Passion for employees’ success
  • Interest and knowledge of the program and its benefits
  • Positive employment experience

Implement the characteristics of effective recognition. To ensure successful employee recognition programs, it is critical to understand the foundations of what constitutes effective recognition. There are six vital characteristics to effective recognition:

  1. Timing. Timing is top priority when distributing recognition. The most effective recognition is given in a timely manner. The longer it takes to deliver recognition, the impact weakens.
  2. Frequency. The more frequent recognition given regarding regular employee contributions, the higher and stronger employee engagement. Failure to implement frequent and consistent recognition can result in employees feeling undervalued.
  3. Precise. Recognition for specific tasks allows employees to understand which actions contributed to the business goal achieved. It also acknowledges the details and context of an assignment for a more personalized certificate of recognition.
  4. Discernable. Publicly recognizing a job well done increases the impact. It also facilitates collaboration across the company, reinforces the positive behavior through peer recognition, sets the bar for company-wide expectations, and allows invaluable insight to cross-departmental discussions for improvement.
  5. Inclusive. Two powerful factors to consider in delivering recognition should be who is recognized most frequently and for what, and who is providing the recognition? Differentiate who is presenting the recognition because feedback from all organizational levels allows more opportunities for appreciation. Incorporating an inclusivity in your recognition program can garner a stronger sense of equity, belonging, and psychological well-being.
  6. Value-based. Value-based recognition reinforces collaboration to attain a company objective.

If you’re looking to implement an employee recognition program or would like to review and revamp your existing employee recognition program, please reach out to Harbor America. Our human resource management specialists can provide HR best practices, tools and resources, and HR support to customize an employee recognition program best suited for your business.


Source: Bonusly

[1], [2], [3] The Importance of Employee Recognition Infographic

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