Workplace demographics are changing as more and more millennials are entering the workforce. A pat on the back for a job well done or an end of the year holiday gift isn’t enough to keep your employees motivated and satisfied. This young and dynamic workforce needs to see immediate results and the immediate recognition of a job done well.
However, employee recognition goes way beyond just making people feel good about themselves. When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and most importantly stick around. A study by Harvard Business School shows that close to a third of employees leave because they weren’t recognized for their contribution towards the success of the company. So, in short, money matters, but there is a lot else going on in the minds of your employees
So how do you recognize your employees without making it seem like a lackluster attempt to go around a yearly ritual? How do you create a meaningful impact on the daily grind that your employees have to put up with? Here are four proven ways of showing gratitude that work every time.
#1 Shout it from the rooftops
Employees want to hear you say, “Hey, you accomplished something important.” They want you to acknowledge their hard work. They want to know that you comprehend their contribution to the overall success of the organization.
So, how do you do it?
1. Be clear and precise about the praise you are showering. Let there be no ambiguity.
2. Don’t overdo the praise. Make sure that your praise is proportional to the work done.
3. Be consistent and on time. Don’t praise them for one task and berate them for a similar one. Be as consistent as possible.
When you do praise, make sure that you do it as soon as you see the good work done. This has a strong impact on your employees' work and how they perceive their work to be in the organization. Some employees like public praise, while others like to be praised in private. It’s your job to learn each employee’s preference.
#2 Give them more Opportunities
Another important element of employee recognition is providing them the opportunities to grow further in the organization. Employees want to feel that their work has a greater impact towards the bigger success of the company. There is no better way to show your appreciation than to acknowledge their contribution by giving the opportunity to learn a new skill or a freer hand at knowing your internal processes. Once they see that they aren’t just a cog in a chain, they will be more committed to your organization’s success.
Top Tip: Understand your employees’ career aspirations better. If they have a desire to work as individual contributors, show faith by trusting them with a little leadership accountability. In the end, you will be blessed with an employee who is invested in your success.
#3 Actively Listen
In all the hustle and bustle of everyday work, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of things. As a result, listening actively to what your employees really have to say can take a back seat. This is an issue that a lot of companies, unfortunately, struggle with. Showering praises on your employees can sometimes be interpreted as an empty attempt especially when you cease to stop and listen. Active listening can also be a sign of genuine regard for their wellbeing and a great way to get to know your employees a bit better. Once you open up the channels of communication and your employees know that you have an ear out to listen to what they have to say, you will be perceived as more approachable. This is without a doubt the best form of recognition which is more meaningful than a yearly bonus. You are all set and soon enough you will begin to see higher employee morale and productivity.
#4 Write it Down
Now that you have established mutual respect, remember to write a personalized note or email whenever your employees go beyond the call of duty. While a simple “thank you” can work wonders, writing a personal note or email of appreciation is something that can be kept for months if not years to come. A note also symbolized the writer’s sincerity and gratitude because it requires investment of time and effort, which makes it more meaningful.
Meaningful recognition of hard work can have a lasting impression on your employees' performance and determine whether they are willing to put in that extra effort. Just make sure it’s not a spectacle and that you are genuinely happy about their achievement. Any attempt at a pretense is sure to backfire with your employees seeing through the authenticity of your attempt. Following the four elements of recognition is a sure shot way to get you on the right path.