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The Power of Recognition in Your Employees’ Lives

/ September 6, 2016 September 6, 2016

We all know the correlation between employee recognition and engagement, but I read with fascination in a recent issue of World at Work’s Workspan, the results of a study (which included members of all the generations currently in workplace) conducted by the O.C. Tanner Institute, where 43% of employees in the study who had felt appreciated during the past month at work, “considered themselves to have the best possible life outside their place of work.”

Gary Beckstrand, who helped drive the study, asserts “Creating a culture of great work starts with meaningful recognition practices. Recognition increases an employee’s ability to do great work and supports a healthful feeling of well-being inside and outside the workplace for all generations of workers.

Beckstrand also proposes that while formal recognition programs are important, the study reveals a phenomenon I have certainly seen in my thirty year HR career—managers not appreciating that recognition does not always have to be formal. As he expresses “While there is occasion for that type of recognition, it can be more effective with frequent personal notes of appreciation and encouragement. “ I have seen how incredibly meaningful it is to an employee if their manager sends a quick complimentary email or stops by their desk to express appreciation. This is especially true if this recognition occurs close to the performance event. Here at Exude, we encourage this type of recognition, and have actually given our managers the discretion to recognize individual employees or entire teams with personally meaningful non-monetary awards such as “Spa Days” or gift certificates for a dinner out with family members.

Regarding formal recognition programs, Beckstrand emphasizes the importance of sharing stories as part of any such process. “Good stories begin with a status quo that is no longer working, a problem that must be solved or a task accomplished—sharing recognition stories not only shows appreciation for the employee who overcame a challenge, but gives team members a tangible example of work that is valued.”

At Exude, we have found that our semi-monthly Staff Meetings provide a perfect opportunity for Marcos Lopez, our CEO and Founder, to share such “good stories.” The story of an employee who drove an hour to pay, with her own money, for a client’s medicine because the pharmacy refused to fill the prescription, or the testimonial from a client who expressed that the “Magic Claims Fairy” had resolved a complex claims issue, are often referenced. Equally powerful, we have a tradition at our Staff Meetings called “Make My Day” where employees can publicly recognize the efforts of teammates who has recently gone “above and beyond” to support them.

Our Spot Bonus Program, where individual employees and/or teams are nominated by their peers or managers to receive monetary recognition awards, are always presented at Staff Meetings so that “good stories” can be shared.

It is very encouraging, to hear that recognition not only enhances both an employee’s work and personal life, but also, as Beckstrand concludes, that “Adopting these types of employee recognition practices encourages strong performance across all age groups and can lead to greater business results.”

Click HERE to read the original issue.