If you google “Employee Recognition” there’s all sorts of information on gifts and awards employers can provide to employees. Low cost / high impact awards, memorable awards, select your gift, engage your team and attain your goals, highest rated products, staff appreciation ideas that won’t break the bank, and on and on…………..
Gifts are great, who doesn’t like to receive a gift? However, the key to effective employee recognition is the personal touch. I recently saw a Facebook post of an acquaintance who received a promotion. She excitedly posted a picture of the flowers she received from the company to recognize the promotion. The card read:
“Congratulations on your promotion. Sincerely, Management”
My reaction to this picture was – what a wasted opportunity! The thought was appropriate, the message killed the thought. Why didn’t “Management” take the time to customize the card by identifying the new job and personalizing the message? It could have simply read:
“Congratulations Susie on your promotion to Account Manager. Thanks for your hard work and dedication to ABC Company. Thank you – Joe Supervisor”
For all of you This Is Us fans, another example of a missed recognition opportunity is from an episode when Randall’s father Will dies. The company Randall has worked at for over 15 years sends him a box of pears with the message “Our condolences – The Management”. This example also includes a very generic message, and in addition to the missed opportunity on the message, a major error was made on the selection of the token gift. Randall is deathly allergic to pears. 15 years ago during his interview lunch, Randall went into anaphylactic shock after eating a salad that contained pears. His future (and current) boss was the one that had to call for emergency medical aid. However, no one at the company took the time to select a customized gift for the death of this long-time, dedicated, and successful employee’s father. Randall ended up resigning from this company at the end of the episode.
Companies spend lots of time, energy and money figuring out recognition programs. The problem with company-wide employee recognition or awards programs is that as human beings, we each have different preferences and motivations. Therefore, a gift or award program is not going to satisfy everyone. The most effective focus would be to train managers to be better leaders with the ability to empathize with employees, take the time to get to know employees, and exhibit behaviors that show employees they are valued and respected. As employees, we want to know that our efforts are being recognized and appreciated. Communication and genuine tokens of appreciation are key. The tokens of appreciation can be as simple as a text, IM or email thanking an employee for going above and beyond. Noticing when an employee is going through a difficult time and offering support and encouragement. Our actions as “management” mean a lot.
It’s celebrating the wins and helping someone through the rough patches. It’s creating a work environment that allows employees to succeed because they feel valued, appreciated and respected.
For more ideas or for help implementing your own employee rewards and recognition strategies, contact YPHR today!
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