The Power of Employee Recognition
No doubt – it’s been a difficult economic environment over the past several years. Businesses have been forced to make some hard decisions. Employees have had to weather the uncertainty of job security. Unemployment rates have remained high, and the competition for any jobs that are available is fierce. The result that this has on everyone in the work force is great. As employees, we ask ourselves questions like: Am I a valued employee? Is my position necessary? What does my future look like? How do I stack up against others in my field or organization? Will I have a job 6 months from now? The psychological impact can be devastating, leading to self-doubt and low self-esteem.
The truth is we need affirmation from time to time – someone to let us know when we are doing a good job. Simply said, a good ole’ pat on the back, to use the cliché. It makes us feel important and valuable, like our contribution makes a difference.
In a recent on-line survey conducted at Southworth, we found that 65% of managers (nearly 2 out of 3) recognize their employees with some form of recognition item or award. The #1 reason given was simply to thank an employee for a job well done. The #2 reason was to motivate or encourage. More than half of those managers reported that they recognize their employees monthly or more frequently. The result: 93% of managers found that this has had a positive affect on employee morale and work behavior. Surprised? I doubt it. It seems obvious that positive reinforcement equals happy employees equals increased morale equals better work behavior.
Don’t get too hung up on the idea that you need to present an elaborate gift; it’s the gesture that really counts. Managers reported giving a range of items as gifts or tools of recognition – everything from note cards to gift cards to certificate awards. So although I’m sure anyone would welcome a paid day off or a bonus in their paycheck, don’t underestimate the value of the gesture itself, and its affect on the recipient.
So my question to you managers out there: Are you part of the 65%? If not, it might be time to join them. Perhaps you have an employee who has taken on more responsibility recently in your organization, or someone who has shown noticeable team spirit. Maybe you’ve noticed someone who’s gone above and beyond to help a customer or fellow employee, or someone who has shown signs of improvement in a particular area. Don’t just recognize the largest goals or milestones; let your employees know you appreciate the small ones as well. I’m sure you will find that the results will speak for themselves.