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By: Helios on March 1st, 2012

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Time to Review Employee Appreciation

Communication | Total Rewards | Helios HR | Best Practices | Employee Relations

Acknowledgement and appreciation of employees is essential for a more positive, productive, and profitable organization. According to Justin Schuster, Vice President of Enterprise Products at MarketTools, Inc., "A strong correlation exists between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and ultimately a company's revenue and profitability." In recognition of the upcoming Employee Appreciation Day on March 2nd, now is the ideal time to acknowledge employees as your company's most valuable assets.

The 2011 Employee Recognition Programs survey, by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Globoforce found that 8 out of 10 organizations have employee recognition programs in place. According to the same survey, the most common reason for recognizing employees is related to their length of service with the company (58%). This is followed closely by recognition for going 'above and beyond' with an unexpected work project (48%), and successful performance results that relate to a company's bottom line (43%). Other considerations for recognition include exemplary behavior aligning with organizational values (37%); completion of regular work projects with high-quality results (9%); and completion of regular work projects at a faster than usual pace (2%).

Despite the positive numbers reflecting an active interest in employee recognition programs, another survey released in 2011 by MarketTools, Inc., found that nearly 50 percent of the employees surveyed have considered leaving their jobs. Financial compensations and rewards, while helpful, are not enough. The value of intrinsic motivation is beyond measure and one of the most powerful tools in a manager's arsenal is public recognition for a job well done. For example, at Hewlett-Packard an engineer surprised his manager with a clever solution and received a banana as an award from the manager, who was otherwise at a loss for ways to reward the employee. Thus began the "Golden Banana Award", which is now awarded to employees who establish new and innovative solutions to problems. This reward is a terrific example of how developing formal and frequent recognition programs do not necessarily have to include financial raises or bonuses to make a significant and positive impact on employee morale.

While public recognition is important, the message a company presents with its recognition programs is just as critical. "Really powerful recognition has to do with the feeling and energy behind it, at no cost," says Alan G. Robinson, author of Ideas are Free (Berrett-Koelher Publishers, 2004). Employers who engage employees in the design process of their recognition programs are more likely to achieve employee buy-in and will notice increased motivation to achieve results deserving of recognition. Employees who are encouraged to share their ideas for rewards and recognition while setting their own measurable goals will recognize that they are a part of a dynamic and continually developing team.

Employees may accept a position based on salary and benefits; but employees will remain with a company when they feel appreciated and valued. Employers, who do more than throw money at their employees and take the time to recognize individuals, as well as team achievements, will be the ultimate winners. While March 2nd is a great day to revisit a company's employee recognition strategy, 2012 is a great year to "go above and beyond" with a company's recognition strategies thereby leveraging a more engaged, positive, and productive workforce.