Your employees reflect your brand so look after them
In today’s rapidly changing global economy, and as the world learns to live with Covid, your people are your only true competitive advantage.
Employees are your brand, and according to many surveys, 2022 will be a critical year for talent retention and attraction, as many employees plan to move jobs.
Highly motivated and passionate employees present your business in the best possible light. Equally, disengaged employees will portray a poor image of your business.
It’s possible to replicate your products, pricing, marketing, etc. but it’s impossible to replicate people and culture. An engaged team makes execution easy because your people are motivated to learn, deliver, and adapt quickly. An engaged team will have bought into your company’s vision and purpose and want the business to succeed because it means they succeed – and vice versa.
So how do you tap into the passion and motivation of your people?
By making sure your people strategy contains the building blocks for a strong, engaged culture which can be reinforced by implementing a scalable recognition (and reward?) framework to reinforce those blocks.
Gone are the days when employee recognition was just about acknowledging how long someone has stuck it out with your company or waiting for a manager to pick an “employee of the month” for any reason under the sun. While they still have a place, they should not be the only, or main strategy in your engagement strategy.
Recognition (and reward) can and should be used to support and strengthen your ability to unite disparate teams, help employees understand your strategic goals and prioritise against them, recognise and praise people when they achieve those goals with positive feedback, reinforce your values and behaviours across the business, provide continuous feedback to proactively manage performance and identify talent with transferable skills.
That said, recognition is not a band aid solution or a quick fix. It’s naïve to assume that implementing a recognition program will solve all your people problems, and it needs to be part of a greater strategic whole.
Ron Friedman in his book The Best Place to Work writes “The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace needs the fundamental building blocks of a positive employee experience in place first – without them, anything perceived as an extra (like recognition, rewards, or in-office perks like free food) will either be rejected or received with cynicism by most employees.”
However, if your compensation package is not up to the industry standard, any recognition or reward will be viewed by most as tokenistic and if your managers lack the communication skills or emotional IQ to lead effectively, recognition will do little to move the needle on employee retention or productivity.
A holistic approach to talent attraction and retention and employee experience means acknowledging each piece of the puzzle is important. Recognition and reward can be used to strengthen and support the pieces around it, but on its own will not solve your people/culture issues.
If you’re smart and intentional with your approach to employee recognition and reward, you can use it to address specific issues and engage your team to perform at their best.
The importance of employee recognition in today’s modern workplace has been proven in many studies, and employee recognition has evolved. It is no longer just about focusing on tenure and recognising people who meet employment milestones. The impact of employee-designed and employee-led recognition programs where the recognition is frequent, timely , sincere and appropriate is getting a lot of attention because it represents a great investment.
Employees who are positively recognised and appreciated tend to be more engaged, and engaged employees often equate to higher retention rates and reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and improved customer experience. Great work relationships are fostered by positive environments and a ‘culture of appreciation’ develops workplaces where employees want to be at work and want to do their best work, often delivering additional or discretionary effort.
Positive recognition reinforces the behaviours you want to see more of in your organisation to help align all your people to your goals and vision, so remember:
The best Recognition programs have been proven to be a great low cost investment with a great return on investment.
Recognition (and reward) can help boost employee engagement.
Peer to peer recognition is extremely powerful.
Recognition reinforces the behaviours you want to see, aligning behaviour with the corporate vision.
Remember, if you don’t look after your employees, your competitors will.
Tony Delaney, CEO Brownie Points