How recognition improves employee engagement and company culture

Feeling the urge to be useful is basic human nature. People should be recognized for a job well done. They want the satisfaction of knowing they’ve accomplished something that makes sense for their team and beyond. Plus, they need these rewards to motivate them to stay engaged.

Recognition is the key to making connections in the office, says Allyson Tom, vice president of people and culture at Blueboard. Recently, Tom participated in a fireside chat that was part of the HR Exchange network’s Talent Exchange Live 2021 online event. She offered her top tips on how to use a recognition system to inspire employees, increase retention and motivate teams.

LOOK: Fireside Chat – Recognition: The key to establishing a connection

Almost 70% of session attendees said they strongly agree that connecting an employee is a critical part of their organization’s overall success. But more than 46% of participants said they were neutral about their organization’s effectiveness in fostering employee relationships. About 27% said they did not think their organization was effective at bonding. Part of the problem, says Tom, is the fact that people rarely speak directly about recognition programs or connection building.

“I think the idea of ​​connecting between employees is not something that we are talking about,” says Tom. “But I think it’s something that’s built into conversations about employee engagement and especially when we start talking about things like retention and that we really want to nurture and develop our top talent.”

Employee engagement must be a priority

Recruitment and retention are the biggest challenges for workforce leaders, according to the Work Trend Index, which Tom cited in his presentation. After all, 41% of employees plan to leave their current employer this year, and 46% said they would likely leave because they can work remotely. The cost of replacing an employee is equivalent to six to nine months’ wages.

“The things that keep me awake at night are all questions about retention and this idea of ​​the Great Resignation that we keep hearing about,” says Tom.

The other main issues facing HR managers are recruiting, DCI (diversity, equity and inclusion) strategies and employee engagement, especially when it comes to hybrid work. Together, these challenges have forced organizations to adapt and become more intentional in building their culture, explains Tom.

Help stop burnout

Everyone is under enormous stress. As a result, burnout is another challenge that Tom says is a top priority for staff leaders. More than half of employees feel overworked, according to the Work Trend Index. One in five respondents to this survey said their employer didn’t care about work-life balance. And 39% of those surveyed said they felt exhausted.

Tom pointed out that Gen Z employees are more likely to burn out with 61% of them expressing this sentiment compared to 54% of the rest. Companies with younger staff should address their concerns accordingly.

Many HR managers tend to see all of these challenges, focus on one problem, and hope that others will come out of it on their own. But Tom suggests taking a holistic approach.

“Bonding with employees will help you overcome any challenge,” she says. “It won’t be a quick fix, but it will help you gradually improve and progress in many areas, not just one.”

Here are a few ways Tom suggests you can engage employees:

  • Ensure that managers have the skills to support their employees
  • Create opportunities for individual contributors to further develop their skills
  • Demonstrate how an individual’s work contributes to the overall success of the organization
  • Build the culture of gratitude by recognizing and appreciating employee accomplishments

Why start with recognition?

Tom admits that some people might find it odd to start employee engagement strategies with recognition. But she argues that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company if they receive more recognition, according to HR Technologist 2020: 6 Statistics That Confirm Employee Recognition and Retention Are Related. In addition, recognition and rewards are readily available to most.

“It can be really intimidating sometimes to think of rolling out a full learning and development program or a full-fledged leadership program. It also requires a lot of resources and probably a lot of planning. It can be difficult to get started in these areas, “says Tom.” Recognition is something that every leader or organization has in one form or another. It’s just a matter of expanding these programs and making sure that it l ‘impact and intent of these programs is evident. ”

Recognition helps foster a culture of belonging and inclusion. It doesn’t take a lot of resources to recognize someone for exceptional work. Of course, there are more sophisticated ways to reward employees.

For example, the Trade Desk, a Blueboard customer, uses Blueboard Spot Rewards to recognize employees who live their values ​​and show generosity and a full heart. They give them the chance to live incredible experiences related to their passions. They share their stories with the team, and it generates excitement. Then others want to win and live their own story, says Tom.

But recognition can be as simple as making a habit of applauding successes big and small in meetings or writing thank you emails to your team. Tom warns that the biggest mistake is to sit idly by and never do anything.

“Just start somewhere,” says Tom, “and know that you add value to your team. ”

photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich for Pexels