Why Employee Recognition is Driving Productivity and Engagement in the New Normal

Jul 6, 2020 | Blog

As your workforce settles into a newfound hybrid work reality in the wake of the pandemic, HR managers have to come up with means of fostering employee engagement and productivity in a new business climate.

The simplest way to go about this is by using your employee recognition programs to let workforces know that their hard work and efforts are appreciated. 90% of HR workers agree that such employee recognition programmes help to drive business results.

Expressing gratitude for a staff member’s commitment and contributions to their job can, in fact, trigger feel-good hormones (oxytocin) in their system; these are vital to their wellbeing as well as their sense of unity with colleagues and your organisation.

Here, zoom video chats and conference calls can do just as much to facilitate in-person displays of gratitude, giving your teams the boost they need to feel good about their work.

What is Employee Recognition?

Employee recognition refers to instances where employees are acknowledged for their performance in supporting the organisation’s goals and success. Typically, this aims to reward team members who have gone above and beyond to work in the interest of the company.

Why? Because appreciation is a fundamental human need, employees respond positively to the recognition of their work because it validates their efforts and confirms their value to your organisation. So it’s no wonder that 43% of employees say they are demotivated because they feel undervalued and invisible in the workplace.

Displaying sincere gratitude for your team’s contributions will be vital to ensuring happy, productive workers who do their jobs diligently. Rewards don’t necessarily have to come across as large gestures or hefty monetary compensation. Small gestures such as a shout out or a “thank you” note can do wonders for their self-esteem.

Benefits of Employee Recognition

Companies that have robust recognition programs can significantly boost productivity and employee engagement levels in their organisation. This is because strong leadership not only recognises employees for their dedication but encourages the entire team to celebrate the success of each employee.

However, only 14% of organisations have an essential recognition tool needed to reward employees.

Here’s why HR managers should be investing in employee recognition:

Positive Work Environment

The more likely HR managers are to recognise employees for a job well done, the more they view their workplace as engaging and supportive.

Moreover, happy employees are at work on time and limit their attendance infractions because they are eager to report to work.

Employee Retention

Employees that feel seen and valued are more likely to thrive in your work environment and want to work in your organisation for the long term. In fact, employees that say they feel heard at their workplace are 4.6 times more likely to perform their best.

Consequently, employee recognition also helps HR managers save on probationary periods and resources spent on training new hires.

Relationships & Collaboration

Praise about their projects and initiatives can drive higher enthusiasm among teams. Enabling team members to recognise their colleagues’ contributions also encourages positive relationships within the workplace and breeds a culture of peer-to-peer recognition.

Thus, HR managers can strengthen the cohesiveness in their organisation and motivate employees to perform their best since their work not only affects their supervisors, but it also has an impact on their friends and colleagues.

Trust in Managers

According to Totaljobs, almost 50% of UK workers have quit their work because of a poor relationship with their manager, and 18% of employees don’t feel they can trust their manager.

When HR and project managers team up to ensure employees are recognised, employees feel like their managers appreciate them, thus strengthening the trust in their work relationship.

5 Tips for Remote Employee Recognition

Employee recognition and positive reinforcement are potent tools for HR managers looking to incentivise their employees to perform their best. Here are five tips to help you get started:

#1: Make Recognition Accessible

Employees today are struggling with work responsibilities and personal commitments as organisations continue to leverage work-from-home solutions.

The fact of the matter is – everyone is busy, so your employee recognition programs should be simple enough for everyone to take advantage of.

Make it a point to tell managers that simple gestures like a short email or a Slack message are also valid forms of recognition and are quick ways to drop in and tell peers they are sincerely appreciated.

It’s also vital that you publicise notable accomplishments – and with employee recognition platforms, this has never been easier.

#2: Celebrate the Small Wins

HR managers must understand that employee recognition isn’t necessarily just about personnel outperforming their job roles – even the smallest of contributions should be taken into consideration.

Today, for example, employees are trying to stay productive and engaged with their work despite the challenges of working remotely. Letting them know you appreciate how they’ve managed to work every day and stay focused will reaffirm their value to your organisation.

#3: Integrate Core Values into Recognition Practice

One of the most important aspects to remember when developing your employee recognition plan is to frame it with your company culture in mind.

Integrating your organisation’s core values with your employee recognition programmes can help connect employees to your values and goals, regardless of which team they belong to.

Additionally, this also helps in strengthening your brand, working to reflect better who you are as an organisation, and what you aim to achieve.

Recognising employees for adhering to company values can help HR managers keep your company culture alive among dispersed teams.

#4: Establish a Recognition Culture

A pat on the back or a simple handshake from a colleague holds greater value to your employee than formal acknowledgment, which is why many organisations today implement peer-to-peer recognition programs to promote employee engagement.

Whether you have a formal program in place where peers evaluate nominations or a casual way to highlight the excellent work your people are doing (such as badges and small thank you notes), encouraging peer recognition can have a positive payoff.

Great leadership means leading by example – and that’s precisely what HR managers will have to do. If you have an employee that worked overtime to meet deadlines, check in the next day with a cuppa and ask how they’re doing. Be as specific as you can and tell everyone about the great work they’re doing. Peers will see this and will act in kind.

However, employees shouldn’t feel any compulsion in complimenting their peers for a job well done. Making peer-to-peer recognition mandatory can come across as forced and insincere.

#5: Remote Face-To-Face Recognition

Under normal circumstances, a meeting with HR is considered a sign of danger: employees automatically assume the worst.

However, calling them to chat (in-person or on a Zoom video call) to tell them about the stellar job they’re doing can immediately make them feel at ease and even motivate them to strive for more.

From short shout outs at your weekly Zoom meetings or a badge at your virtual award ceremonies – there’s no limit to showing your appreciation for employees face-to-face, even when parts of your team are still working remotely.

Recognition Can Be a Viable Investment for Your Business

HR managers need to actively recognise their employees now more than ever.

There are several quick and inexpensive ways for management to show team members the recognition they deserve. At the end of the day, the little things go a long way – and a small thank you on your end can mean the world to someone else. Regardless of the initiatives you take, remember to view it as a long-term investment in your company culture.

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