For most organizations, the practice of employee appreciation is considered to be a good to have, but not necessary. More often than not, employee appreciation remains at the periphery of people practices in organizations. It is simply considered as a means to drive employee happiness, seldom having an impact on organizational success and bottom line. Fortunately, employee-centric organizations are taking appreciation and recognition seriously now. They are making it an ongoing practice with specific processes to facilitate the same. There is a gradual acceptance of the fact that employees have different needs from a workplace and appreciation is a way to fulfil the self esteem needs.
The Impact on Organizational Success
- Productivity and performance
According to a study by SocialCast, 69% employees would work harder if they felt that they would be appropriately recognized and appreciated. The rationale is simple. The more employee appreciation an organization drives, the more employees feel motivated and engaged. It is a well known fact that engagement directly and indirectly translates to better performance and productivity.
- Employer branding and talent acquisition
Employee appreciation and incentives is also a way to create a great employer image and become the top choice for applicants. Invariably, candidates look for organizations that recognize their efforts and appreciate their contributions in different ways. No matter what you put in your corporate brochure, only when you have a culture of employee appreciation that your existing employees can vouch for, will your talent acquisition be effective.
- Retention and succession pipeline
According to a recent survey, lack of recognition and appreciation is driving about 44% of individuals to switch jobs. The same survey also reported 69% employees consider recognition and rewards as the main motivators to stay with their current employer. Invariably, employee appreciation is a way to better engage your workforce and reduce the cost of employee workforce. At the same time, retention directly translates to building an effective succession pipeline to carry the organizational legacy ahead and build brand credibility.
- Driving the right behavior
Finally, employee appreciation can be an effective way to encourage employees to behave in a manner that coincides with organizational goals. Psychologically speaking, this is a form of positive reinforcement. For instance, if you appreciate an employee and offer incentive for his/ her punctuality, it is likely to drive others to report on time too. It is a subtle way to communicate what behavior is right and drive your employees towards it.
Employee Appreciation: Getting the Basics Right
Now that there is a clear understanding of how employee appreciation translates to organizational success, let’s move on the ‘How’ part. Irrespective of the fact where an organization is on its employee appreciation lifecycle, there are some practices that can guarantee you a win.
- Have an emotional appeal
It is important to ensure that your employee appreciation activities are not only practically and monetarily driven. Humans by nature are emotional creatures and therefore, an emotional appeal to employee appreciation will make a difference. A simple thank you for their work or good progress can do the trick. The idea is to strike their emotional cord.
- Do not group and conquer
Most organizations follow the practice of employee appreciation, albeit in a group setting. This leads to a depersonalization of the appreciation and recognition. It is, thus, best to acknowledge both individual and team efforts from time to time. Even when the focus is on team appreciation, a line about the contribution of each individual, or at least naming all members of the team is a good idea.
- Public appreciation
It is well known that appreciation when done publicly boosts confidence and self esteem more. It does not mean that organizations have to host a big event every time they wish to appreciate an employee’s work. Rather, something just as simple as a group mail to the entire workforce is good enough. The idea is to let the employees know that good work doesn’t go unrecognized.
As employee appreciation is becoming a necessary practice today, it is very important for stakeholders across levels to take responsibility. While business leaders can set the precedence and HR professionals can put activities in place, the onus of employee appreciation lies with the managers who constantly monitor employee performance. It would be a good idea to experiment with the wide range of digital tools available today to gauge performance and accord appreciation. Once employee appreciation is in place, organizational success is likely to see an upward trajectory, because appreciated employees are most productive.