around that notion of constant feedback.” In the workplace, it’s
“Tie recognition to specific accomplishments or business objec-tives
to drive future behaviour,” said Tolovi Neto. And while no
one minds monetary rewards, something personal that really con-nects
with an employee’s interests or values can make a bigger
Even little things can go a long way.
“We can recognize important milestones and accomplishments
but we can also recognize everyday work,” he said. “No matter
what their position, people need to know that what they do is
received as positive and their work has value.”
At GoodLife, for example, managers have a small discretionary
budget they can use to reward staff members.
“They might buy somebody a coffee and say thank you for a
great job,” said Free. “Or save up for a longer period of time and
take someone out to play laser tag or go axe throwing.”
Recognition can come from any number of sources, and might be
a formal program or something more organic, depending on what
suits the industry, the culture and the work being acknowledged.
At Great Wolf Lodge, there’s a formal recognition program that
invites guests, managers and coworkers to give props (or “paws”) to
peers who do something great. Employees can collect, then trade,
those paws in for gift certificates and prizes of their choice.
At Habanero, it’s less formal, but might be more frequent.
“Recognition is deeply embedded in our culture and it’s all
about how we relate to one another,” said Fitzgerald. Employees
regularly give kudos to co-workers over social media, or from time
to time in more formal ways at special celebrations.
“The idea of being programmatic about recognition doesn’t
make sense for us,” said Fitzgerald. “It would be like being pro-grammatic
about showing affection to your partner. Recognition
is something that’s given and felt at an emotional level, not an arti-fact
Recognition works to impact the employee experience on sev-eral
levels. First, it’s deeply rewarding for an employee to have good
work noticed in an authentic way. That good work also inspires
others. And finally, it’s rewarding for the person doing the recog-nizing,
“In our organization, there’s almost more currency in finding
people doing great things and pointing it out, than being found
doing great things,” said Fitzgerald.
LONG SERVICE AWARDS
According to Bersin & Associates, 87 per cent of recognition pro-grams
focus on length of tenure. But recent U.S. statistics found
employees stay with an employer for a median of just 4.6 years. So
how important can length-of-service awards be when it comes to
the employee experience?
“There’s still value there, but we’re seeing some change in how
those awards are implemented,” said Tolovi Neto. Instead of sim-ply
receiving a pin or a watch for sticking it out for a decade,
companies are striving to connect awards to an employee’s char-acter
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