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To launch a successful employee recognition program,
you need buy-in from top management. Yet many
executives see recognition as a waste of money. After
all, it’s just a bunch of touchy-feely stuff with no impact
on the bottom line, right? Wrong.
A 2014 study by Gallup found 68.5% of workers in the
U.S. are either not engaged in their jobs or actively
disengaged, meaning less than one third (31.5%) were
Research has shown a strong
correlation between employee
recognition and increased engagement.
The percentage of highly engaged employees at companies
with strong recognition programs is more than double
that at companies with weak recognition.
Companies with weak recognition: 34%
PERCENTAGE OF EMPLOYEES WHO ARE HIGHLY ENGAGED
Companies with strong recognition: 78%
I have always believed that the way
you treat your employees is the way they
will treat your customers, and that people
ﬂourish when they are praised.
— Sir Richard Branson
Research shows that employee recognition has a direct
impact on the bottom line in several ways. Recognition:
1. Encourages great work
2. Increases employee drive
3. Encourages innovation and productivity
4. Builds trust and strengthens relationships between
the employee and the manager
5. Attracts new talent—and keeps it around.
Recognize me - 37%
I’m self-motivated - 13%
Give me autonomy - 12%
Inspire me - 12%
1. Employee recognition encourages great work
One study asked employees an open-ended question:
“What is the most important thing your manager or
company currently does (or could do) to cause you to
produce great work?”
I don’t know - 3%
Promote me - 4%
Train me - 6%
Other - 6%
Pay me more - 7%
2. Employee recognition increases employee drive
One of the most effective ways to increase performance is to
give employees a sense of purpose that inspires drive and
89% at companies with strong recognition
EMPLOYEE DRIVE AND DETERMINATION:
44% at companies with weak recognition.
3. Money isn’t everything
41% of employees claimed that they would rather receive
recognition than a 5% bonus for going above and beyond.
4. Employee recognition builds trust
A 2015 AON Hewitt study, indicates that employees who are
encouraged and rewarded for sharing ideas are three times
as engaged as employees without such stimulus.
5. Employee recognition attracts talent
Recognizing quality work from your employees will not only
bring in skilled talent, it will encourage the talent you bring
in to stick around for longer.
Out of 26 factors that favorably impact a new job, employees
ranked “a manager who shows appreciation for my work” as #1.
Other important factors included “good relationships with
coworkers” and “a healthy work-life balance.” Salary ranked #8.
6. Employee recognition retains talent
A years-of-service award program is linked to employees
staying an average of two to three years longer than they
Companies with service awards - 6.7 years
AVERAGE TIME EMPLOYEES STAY AT COMPANIES:
Companies without service awards - 4.7 years
Don’t stop at the top:
Get local leaders on board, too.
A skeptical local leader is one of the biggest obstacles to
deploying a recognition program. However, local leaders
can be powerful champions of employee recognition if
given the opportunity to understand its beneﬁts.
A Cautionary Tale
A large company based in the United States had a successful
domestic recognition program they wished to expand
internationally. The HR team built an international version of
the program, complete with awards, timelines, protocols for
presentations, and international award shipping and support.
Everything was planned out perfectly.
But the program failed.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
The biggest mistake the company made was not involving
leaders from each international site.
As a result, local leaders felt the program had been sprung
on them suddenly and without their input. There was no
clear source of answers to questions about the program, it
had eliminated and replaced some beloved recognition
traditions. As a result, the employees who should have felt
honored felt alienated instead.
Best practices to get international leaders on board
1. Engage them early in the process.
2. Help them see the big picture and the likely upside
3. Give them opportunities to adapt the plan to ﬁt their own
local culture and traditions.
4. Show them appreciation. Recognize their accomplishments
and acknowledge their insights so they can feel the power
of recognition themselves.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY
For more leadership insights and best practices
O.C. TANNER AND THE O.C. TANNER INSTITUTE
O.C. Tanner, on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list
for the second year in a row in 2016, helps organizations create
great work environments by inspiring and appreciating great work.
Thousands of clients globally use the company’s cloud-based
technology, tools, awards, and education services to engage talent,
increase performance, drive goals, and create experiences that fuel
the human spirit. Learn more at octanner.com.
The O.C. Tanner Institute regularly commissions research and provides
a global forum for exchanging ideas about recognition, engagement,
leadership, culture, human values, and sound business principles.
GREAT YEAR AT WORK
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SHRM CONFERENCE 2016
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