Individualized Recognition Key
to Employee Trust, Engagement
By Alison Grenier and Sarah McVanel
It’s fair to say that most organizations have some way of rec-ognizing
their best people. In fact, the Conference Board of
Canada’s (CBOC) 2017 report, “The Power of Appreciation,”
shows that Canadian organizations spend on average $139 per
FTE annually on employee recognition.
And this makes good business sense. Recent research from
Great Place to Work® shows that organizations that celebrate
success also ranked +11 to +18 per cent higher in key business
outcomes such as discretionary effort, cooperation, pride and
overall impressions of the workplace than those who did not. In
essence, the stronger the cultures for celebrating success, the stron-ger
employee discretionary effort, cooperation, pride and overall
impressions of the workplace – all good news.
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DO – IT’S HOW YOU DO IT
The CBOC’s study shows that the number one way that organi-zations
are currently recognizing their employees – through
long-service awards and celebrations – are both costly and not the
best way to ensure employees feel valued. Public celebrations are not
necessarily what everyone prefers (for some it’s downright embar-rassing!)
and having to wait until a designated time and place to say
thanks doesn’t make sense in our instant gratification culture.
So, what’s a leader to do? How can we most effectively recognize
employees to boost engagement and retain top talent during this
current talent shortage?
INDIVIDUAL RECOGNITION MATTERS
Three separate datasets from GPTW, CBOC and Metrics@Work
(referenced in Forever Recognize Others Greatness) all point to
the importance of individuals being recognized “in the moment”
by their direct supervisor and colleagues as more desired than cor-porate
celebrations. Quite simply, 90 per cent of employees report
most valuing a verbal thank-you, personalized words of acknowl-edgement
and a written thank-you, in that order. These are simple
no-to-low cost options that demonstrate appreciation for good
work and extra effort.
But how could it be that straightforward?
GPTW research corroborates that while any effort to celebrate
success are statistically significant in higher trust, your ROI will
be greatest when investing in practices that focus most specifically
on recognizing and appreciating employee efforts and accomplish-ments
versus more generalized workplace celebrations.
It’s not about throwing out what works; if your employees look
forward to receiving their milestone award, kicking up their heels
with each other during the holidays or have a tradition of hon-ouring
retirees, keep that as part of the mix. Just make sure you
equally value the human touch element of recognition, with fiscal
resources as well as time, attention and managerial resources.
QUITE SIMPLY, 90 PER CENT OF
EMPLOYEES REPORT MOST VALUING A
VERBAL THANK-YOU, PERSONALIZED
WORDS OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND A
WRITTEN THANK-YOU, IN THAT ORDER.
A “NEED TO HAVE”… NOT JUST A “NICE TO HAVE”
If you think this sounds all “touchy-feely,” consider the data.
When your team knows their contributions are valued, needed
and appreciated, they will work harder for you, trust the organi-zation
more and be more likely to stay. That makes good business
sense. And before you start thinking this is going to take too much
time to intentionally show appreciation to individuals, consider
how much time you spend recruiting, interviewing, retraining,
mentoring, conflict managing, performance managing, and prob-lem
solving. Consider also what you would prefer to do with your
time; what would make your quality of work life higher?
LET THE FLOODGATES OPEN!
It’s not rocket science to be the leader or colleague that people want
to work with. Creating high trust, deeply collaborative and healthy
workplace cultures is becoming one of the most important roles
a leader has in today’s rapidly changing, fiscally restrained, high
paced, and talent crunched work environment. How empowering
it is to know that your actions today can help make a meaning-ful
shift to workplace satisfaction. That you can be that manager
or organization that people want to work for. Let the candidate
floodgates open. n
Alison Grenier is Head of Culture and Research at Great Place to
Work Canada. Sarah McVanel is the Founder & Chief Recognition
Officer at Greatness Magnified.
Storimages / Shutterstock.com
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ MARCH 2018 ❚ 37