“Research indicates that employees have three prime needs: Interesting work, employee recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.” – Zig Ziglar
Motivation cannot be a onetime thing. Just like our bodies need daily food as fuel to run, motivation acts as the catalyst that pumps us with infinite energy to make the best of our day. For example, families that play the ‘blame game’ are pretty much depressing and least likely to survive together for long. However, those that support and appreciate each other’s efforts end up staying together forever. Similarly, people who run a business, and those reporting will stay longer together if their efforts get due respect and recognition, mutually.
Transparency in setting expectations and regular feedback is essential for any employee to gain clarity of what a company expects from them at work. From the management perspective, a job well done deserves as much attention as a closed-door feedback session. It’s about how sincerely these two crucial ‘attributes’ influencing engagement is factored in the HR systems. It also measures the real success or failure of HR driven employee engagement programs. The clarity in organization goals and the visibility of an employee of how well he fits in the puzzle is another contributor to high engagement levels. Motivation to perform can well be the summary of all of the above.
Picking up recognition from the above mentioned multiple factors is like cutting out a slice from the cake. As per the Gartner Report, ” Recognition is no more limited to periodic award ceremonies; rather, companies now reinforce it with performance management, the culture of coaching, and learning and development.” The value of recognition lies in how well we accept it into the culture of the organization.
Some of the reasons why recognition programs lose value are:
- Alignment with performance management systems
Appreciation, when given from the heart without any expectation in return, is the sincerest form of recognition. But programs that propel the idea “you scratch my back while I scratch yours” linked with appraisals or point systems tend to fail. The reason being, anything that’s not natural is inevitably not sustainable either.
- Discretionary powers to the leadership teamSome recognition programs don’t honor transparency and raise eyebrows later on a decision to reward a particular candidate and not the other employee.
- Preplanned periodic award events
Those days when employees expect the ‘recognition’ becomes more boring year on year. On the other hand, ‘instant’ or ‘on the spot’ recognition energizes the employees and assures them that the organization appreciates their hard work when it’s most due.
- Strict budgets for R&R programs
Smaller cost loses out talent to larger businesses due to tight finances, especially when it comes to employee engagement programs. Employees who don’t feel valued and motivated at work tend to look for greener pastures early on if there aren’t suitable R&R programs.
Additional titles like the employee of the month, etc., may still motivate a fresher or a trainee but loses its shine when bestowed upon senior employees as mentors or leaders.
To increase the value of employee recognition systems, building a culture of appreciation is of utmost importance. Organizations need to target and foster specific behaviors aligned to the values (like solution provider, creativity, integrity, etc.) they wish to drive. Employees need to feel comfortable, and at ease, with the system that’s supposed to bring their excellent work to life in a public workspace to which everyone has access. It should be visually appealing. Open communication and sincere appreciation has no limits and should not be regulated by hierarchy /gender /cultural or religious bias. Even the leaderboard should be refreshed on a weekly or monthly basis. It brings up new faces taking center stage for good work.
The need is to make every employee feel valued for their contributions. A successful recognition program can prove to be the right parameter for improving motivation levels daily.