maximizing the impact of recognition
Appreciation | October 9, 2015
Is simply having an employee recognition program enough?
Picture an employee who is celebrating a career milestone at their company. As the employee passes his boss’s office, the boss gives the employee his still postage-boxed service anniversary award and says, “Thank you for your service.” The employee returns to his desk alone and opens the box and finds not just his award, but also the card with instructions to the manager on how to present the award inside.
Now imagine the same employee who is celebrating the same milestone at the same company. This time, on his anniversary, the employee walks into a meeting to find his colleagues and family members waiting for him. They spend a few minutes talking about the specific impact the employee has made at the company during his career and share a few fun stories about working with him. At the end of the presentation, the employee’s boss presents the employee with the award from the company and says, “Thank you for your service.”
When it comes to appreciation, all is not lost if the simple “hand-off appreciation” resonates with what is happening at your organization, but companies are significantly short-changing their investment in employee recognition when this type of recognition is given. The difference between these experiences has nothing to do with increased monetary spend from the company and has everything to do with creating an experience for the employee. A presentation is one guaranteed opportunity leaders and colleagues have to verbalize the appreciation they feel. And that’s crucial, because employees don’t just know that they’re appreciated—you have to tell them. During the presentation, specifically mention personal and career achievements, and then tie those achievements back to goals and values of the organization. Each career is unique. Each person is unique. Each accomplishment is unique. Ensuring that each aspect of recognition is also unique will guarantee a more successful program.
If that isn’t convincing enough, research from the O.C. Tanner Institute reveals that simply celebrating careers is strongly correlated to increased tenure. Offering a program that recognizes career milestones keeps employees an average of two years longer than organizations that don’t. But, if the program is rated highly by employees, they plan to stay at their current employer for an additional two years on top of that.
In the end, when you have an employee appreciation program in place, you are already monetarily invested. Taking the extra effort to make sure there is a good experience in addition to a good award is worthwhile for everyone involved. After all, your employees will be happier and will stay, on average, an additional two years longer.