It is a well-known fact that a happy and appreciated employee is more organized, self-confident and productive than one that is less so, and an entire group of contented employees can achieve great things for the practice or company that they work for. One way to inspire a sense of contentment in the work place is for employers to show recognition for hard work and special achievements. Most often, however, this task is easier said than done and employers face some challenges when considering the undertaking. While the benefits of employee recognition most certainly out way the cons, some of the cons can discourage employers from bothering at all. These include feelings of inadequacy or jealousy on the part of those who are not rewarded at any particular employee recognition event or occasion as well as the dissatisfaction or feeling of being short-changed by those who are.
The worry over either of these possible outcomes is most often enough reason for employers to abandon efforts of employee recognition completely. Fortunately there are ways to avoid these negative outcomes and ensure that employee recognition is not only possible, but entirely effective. Here are some easy guidelines that will help you provide effective employee recognition.
Start by setting your goals and organizing your plan of execution.
Allowing employee recognition efforts to become scattered and undefined will often cause confusion and lead to discontent amongst any staff. Decide which type of performance or behavior you would like to reward, like positive patient or client feedback or the meeting of monthly quotas. You can even decide to reward employees in areas where you see room for improvement, such as attendance or punctuality. Positive reinforcement is an excellent way to affect change for the better.
Once you have decided why you want to provide employee recognition, you can plan how. A weekly, biweekly, monthly or even quarterly scheduled program that you do not alter or deviate from will help give employees a sense of structure that they can easily adjust to and will also make them feel that these goals are more easily attainable.
Make sure it is clear that personal feelings are left out of the process entirely.
No employee appreciates an employer that is seen to be playing favorites. Make it clear to the entire workforce that your personal feelings play no part in employee recognition by simply eliminating your own vote from the running. For example, giving recognition to staff members based solely on monthly sales, conversions or referrals is a good way to start. Basing your reward program on cold hard facts and numbers, rather than by who you perceive to be making an extra effort, will show that you are not interested in turning your recognition efforts into a game of favorites.
Another great way to keep your employee recognition methods completely fair and all-inclusive is to award top performers by showing your gratitude and appreciation with words of thanks and encouragement or a small gift and then placing their names in a drawing for a larger prize. Leaving the final outcome to chance further removes management from the process of how an awardee is chosen, reminding everyone that they are being treated fairly. A regularly scheduled lottery will also be fun and exciting for participants who have worked to earn an entry.
Skip individual employee recognition at company wide celebrations.
Award or achievement ceremonies aside, company wide events like annual holiday parties or spring picnics are really not the appropriate time for recognizing a small few individuals for their achievements. These occasions should be designated for showing appreciation for every single employee rather than putting the spotlight on some. If you want all of your attendees to enjoy a company wide celebration and feel unified and valued, than this is a time to thank everyone for their contributions as one unit. Singling out just a few will make the others feel less important and that is not the message you want to send out at these events.
Be realistic about your reward system.
It is important to keep in mind that no matter how dedicated your staff may be, most of them value either a tangible reward or something that allows them more time with their families above all else. For this reason things like extra vacation days, gift cards for activities that can be enjoyed on their free time or custom printed awards or gifts might be more appreciated than a point system or status award, like employee of the month, which can sometimes feel like an empty gesture.
It can be difficult to swallow criticism after you have made extensive efforts to execute an effective employee recognition program, but that is a natural reaction. No one likes to hear that a project they are invested in is not panning out. Just keep in mind that the purpose of this endeavor is to bring about a feeling of contentment among your staff. When you remember that the overall happiness of your workforce is the main objective, it will be easier to accept feedback and make any necessary changes to your employee recognition program. You may even find that listening to the opinions of your staff members is exactly the kind of employer behavior that will satisfy your employees and result in even more profit driving productivity.