Organizations are full of people who are motivated by recognition; they are propelled by seeing and hearing the value of what they do. Money is great, perks are wonderful, but many workers get the most fuel by being recognized for their everyday contributions. As a leader, the easiest and most impactful thing you can do on a daily basis is to make sure each person on your team feels valued.
Co-Authors Chester Elton (@ChesterElton) and Adrian Gostick (@AdrianGostick) have been doing a good deal of research for an upcoming book “What Motivates Me”. In their research, they have studied over 850,000 people and found a good percent of working Americans admit they would work harder if they simply received more praise for their efforts. How easy does that sound? Well, as the saying goes – If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it.
There is a threefold issue with employee recognition when it comes to our current state of leadership training. For starters, far too many leaders are advanced for all the wrong reasons. The traits that make a great performer are not necessarily the traits that make a great leader, and great leaders understand the importance of recognition. The understanding and embrace of employee recognition isn’t as easy or common sense as it sounds.
Secondly, if these leaders are lucky enough to receive formal leadership training, many leave the experience wanting more. A Brandon Hall Group 2013 Leadership Development Benchmarking Survey revealed 75% of organizations said their leadership development programs are not very effective.
Another strong factor in this common leadership failing is that too many leaders are under the impression the company recognition program will take care of it for them. No need to bother with rewards and recognition, we have this awesome recognition program to do the heavy lifting. One more thing off of management’s plate right?
Not necessarily. Employers have realized the bottom line impact that a strong employee recognition program can have, and thus employee recognition programs have gained great popularity. However, simply having one of these programs isn’t cutting it. Recognition and performance company Achievers revealed 73% of HR pros reported their organizations have an employee recognition program (that’s a lot!), but only 58% of the employee respondents reported having a formal recognition program.
So, employers are dishing out the big bucks on these recognition programs that their employees don’t even know exist. Beyond that, the impact can be negligible when leadership is under the impression that these systems will be doing the heavy lifting for them. The same study revealed only 17% of respondents reported their organization’s culture supports recognition. An employee recognition program alone won’t cut it. Recognition must be part of the culture, values and leadership training to be effective.
The New Way
The number one reason most American workers quit their jobs is they don’t feel appreciated. This is an organizational issue that starts at the core – organizational values and goals. If recognition is not part of the culture (which is rooted in the values and goals), initiatives will fall flat. It takes a strategic approach involving leadership and technology.
Organizations with a strong employee recognition approach are 12x more likely to have strong business results. Notice the wording there, “Strong employee recognition approach”. It’s a strategy rather than a function.
Leaders can motivate and engage their teams by making their great work visible throughout the company. The platform allows leaders to post recognition and congratulatory messages on a company or department-wide basis.
Managers are given real-time updates on employee successes, making knowing how and when to give recognition simple. They will also know how to appropriately reward great performance, whether it be a simple “thank you” or a significant bonus. Nothing goes unrecognized and properly rewarded.
The clear workflow overview reveals roadblocks, so employees are never held accountable for workflow issues out of their control.
It sounds simple right; say a few thank yous every once in a while. There’s a lot more to employee recognition. When leaders have a clear and real-time view of employee performance and successes, they can give more relevant and timely recognition on a continuous basis. The impact of employee recognition is undeniable, but the implementation is where most leaders are having the hardest time.