Unlock the Benefits of Employee Recognition: A Guide for CEOs

Two years since the pandemic began, the unprecedented labor trends known as the Great Resignation and the Great Reshuffle continue practically unabated. American workers continue to quit their jobs at a record pace of more than 4 million resignations per month.

With the workforce in such a state of flux, companies are searching for every possible performance management resource to attract and retain top talent. Successful CEOs already know that a company’s current employees are their best ambassadors in attracting new talent. One of the most effective ways to create loyal, committed employees who feel satisfied, involved, and motivated is to create and maintain a solid corporate recognition culture.

To create a corporate recognition culture, senior leadership has to, well, lead the way. “Change starts at the top” is more than just a catchphrase. Like just about every other policy involving people, the support and participation of top management are essential to success.

The Importance of Awards and Recognition 

Craving recognition is human nature. We look for recognition from parents, teachers, and friends from an early age and our need for positive affirmation is often so strong that neutral responses are perceived as negative. This holds in workplace performance management systems as well.

  • Nearly half (48%) of American workers are actively looking to change jobs due primarily to employee disengagement. (Gallup)
  • Companies with structured recognition programs experience nearly a third less turnover than companies that don’t. (Bersin by Deloitte)
  • Job seekers cite recognition for work as one of the primary reasons they are attracted to a particular company. (Willis Towers Watson)
  • Businesses overwhelmingly agree (72%) that recognition has a significant positive impact on employee engagement. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Seven in ten (71%) business executives cite a high level of employee engagement as critical to company success. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Companies that conduct sophisticated recognition programs are 12X more likely to experience robust and successful business outcomes. (Bersin by Deloitte)
  • Lack of appreciation stifles innovation; 56% of managers say they don’t share important ideas because they’re afraid they won’t get credit. (LetsGrowLeaders.com)

Creating a Culture of Recognition

Creating a culture of recognition in your company does not have to be difficult, but it does take some time and there is a process. Here are some important guidelines.

Recognize Early and Recognize Often

In a robust recognition culture, workers experience recognition from their first day. They learn about the existence of formal programs during onboarding, and their achievement of various new-employee milestones begins then.

Make It Quick and Easy to Carry Out

In order to successfully see the benefits of employee recognition in your performance management system, everyone in the company, from the CEO to the lowest entry-level staff member, must have an easy way to express appreciation. Maintaining a mix of formal and informal recognition programs, including some carried out through social media, simplifies the ability of managers and peers to recognize good work. Recognition given months after the fact is far less meaningful than that received right away. Credit needs to be a priority, with formal systems in place so the giver can “strike while the iron is hot.”

The New KISS (Keep It Specific and Special)

A generic “atta boy!” is rarely wrong, but recognition must also be linked to specific behaviors with measurable results. Employees value the credit that memorializes their efforts (something displayed) or is shared in public venues.

Link Achievements to Goals

Recognition tied to company goals and strategies creates a win-win situation. Employees see how they are contributing to the success of the business. The company experiences higher ROI on resources invested in appreciation efforts.

Storytelling is Powerful

Stories evoke emotion that lingers long after they are heard. Create ways in which employees can tell and retell their stories of why they were recognized.

From Everyone and To Everyone

One of the common denominators among Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For is a corporate culture of recognition. A proper recognition culture results when all employees feel they own the responsibility of sharing appreciation and praise with peers, colleagues, and superiors.

The Bottom Line

Rewarding employees for their contributions is highly beneficial to your bottom line and critical to the success of your business. Make rewards and recognition a part of your culture, and you’ll create an engaged workforce that’ll stay with you for the long run. To see the benefits of employee recognition in your organization, let Xceleration step in to provide employee rewards and recognition software.

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