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The Importance of Employee Recognition

Posted in Hints & Tips on 2nd June 2021

Employee recognition, no matter how minimal, is the gift which keeps on giving.

Engagement increases, staff turnover decreases, in turn, decreasing employee acquisition costs and it also builds stronger relationships between management and members of staff. Imagine that, an engaged workforce all singing from the same hymn sheet ensuring continuous delivery of projects on time and to a great standard – sounds like the recipe for making a fantastic company and also a lot of cash. 

So why are only 14% of businesses supplying managers the tools and facilities to reward and recognise their staff? Simply put, the cost of it.

Over £100 BILLION is spent in the US alone on employee recognition but can you put an ROI (return of investment) on a happy workforce? Giving your employees recognition for the hard work they do is a no brainer, take school into consideration: when going the extra mile, you were rewarded for your efforts with a gold star or a merit sticker, the accumulation of these awards would enable you to buy something from the tuck-shop. It pushed the children to achieve more and do better.

The premise is there in the working day.

Male smiling while working

Are you doing enough?

People are incentivised to do the bare minimum of their job through their remuneration however, businesses cannot grow on the ‘bare minimum’. So, what is going to make your employees want to go above and beyond? BINGO, you have got it, employee recognition. 69% of employees would work harder and go beyond limits if they felt their efforts were better appreciated. People like to be acknowledged for the work they do, so when people go above and beyond, and you are slacking on recognition is essentially ignoring their existence.

Ignoring staff’s existence is certainly one way to drive an unhappy workforce. You may be thinking “So what? Everyone is unhappy working” – You couldn’t be more wrong. Ask your clients if there is a noticeable difference between when your workforce is happy and when it is not. They will tell you there is. 41% of companies noticed an increase in customer satisfaction when they pivoted their strategy to keeping staff happier. Unhappy employees lead to unhappy clients. Unhappy clients can lead to a loss in revenue and a bad reputation in the industry. In addition, it creates a problem around staff turnover, your talent looks to leave, or worse, you look to fire some as you lose clients. None of which is a recipe for success.

It is no secret that talent acquisition is a costly undertaking. The average recruitment fee in the UK (IT sector) is £6750, also consider the pay off required to let a member of staff go, the money spent training the new employee(s) and then all of the non-liquid implications which come with staff turnover, it can lead to a very expensive problem which could have been resolved by a simple recognition program. Companies that have invested in a recognition scheme have noticed a reduction of 31% in workers handing in their notice. Having higher staff retention comes with its benefits, you’re more likely to attract top talent as they like to work for respectable companies that value their staff. Higher staff retention enables for stronger inter-business relationships especially between managers and the workforce.

The manager-employee relationship is one often stigmatised as being a tense one or even a ‘class divide’. That, however, should not be the case. In order for businesses to progress, relationships need to be built on trust. Trust is a tricky thing to build when you have the fait of an employee at your fingertips. So how can you overcome this obstacle? Gratitude. You do not have to reward the workforce in order to be gratuitous, enabling them to take the lead on a project or even taking a step back and not micro-managing is showing recognition. You’re trusting them to do their job and in turn, their relationship is growing with you. 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers not only improved their performance at work but also built trust with more senior members of staff.

How can you start to implement a recognition program I hear you ask?

Build an employee recognition framework. – 4 MUSTs

Meaningful – Make moments of recognition matter by making them detailed and meaningful. Why does your fellow colleague deserve recognition? Ensure the person knows specifically what they’ve done to deserve the recognition.

Unified – Make sure to build an initiative that allows for all to give and all the receive recognition under one brand to better connect to your colleagues.

Spotlight – Shine a spotlight on moments of recognition, either through social capabilities or other public means, to celebrate achievements and reinforce habits for the rest of the company.

Timely – Make recognition more impactful by sending moments of recognition instantly that are easily accessible anytime, anywhere.

Ask yourself questions to establish what is worthy of employee recognition.

Consider your own recognition journey.

  • What does good look like to you? – Consider the behaviours that actually call for recognition.
  • What does your culture feel like? – Think about your values and what resonates with people.
  • How will it make your employees feel? – Will it make your colleagues more engaged or create divides.

It will cost, everyone knows that but get an understanding of costs and get real with it.

You need to consider a few things:

  • Time spent on designing and implementing a recognition strategy.
  • The time it takes to give recognition.
  • The monetary value of the recognition item (if any at all).
  • Time and cost of teaching people how to give recognition.
  • Costs of introducing a new process.

Following these 3 simple steps will ensure you have a successful employee recognition strategy.

The ROI of keeping employees happy is ambiguous, there is no debate with that. A lot of the rewards aren’t tangible or offer a quick return on the investment. In business, everything needs tangible returns but surely you cannot put a value on having an engaged, happy workforce. Which continuously delivers week after week, month after month, year after year to ensure the best possible service for your clients and customers. Investing in staff recognition will certainly achieve the aforementioned. The more companies which introduce such benefits will hopefully ensure people love Mondays again.

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