There are many studies and articles that talk about ways to build a corporate culture, to increase employee engagement, and improve employee performance. But no one of these can be achieved in a silo. Culture, engagement, and performance are all part of a single unified experience.
A company’s culture is built through engaged employees who feel emotionally invested and appreciated, and the way in which companies reward and recognize their employees is an indicator of the culture. All three are interconnected, and nothing happens until your employees are recognized and rewarded for accomplishments.
Creating a culture of recognition by unifying recognition programs under one umbrella is a good start. Often, organizations have a number of different recognition programs (formal or informal), to the point where it’s difficult for the employees to know what’s expected of them.
Prospective employees now consider culture to be as important as competitive salary and benefits and will sway the decision if everything else is equal. World at Work reports that 14% of companies already list culture among their advantages with prospective employees.
Despite increased attention to employee engagement activities by corporate leaders over the past several years, the majority of U.S. employees (51%) remain disengaged, according to Gallup. This has resulted in a greater focus on more tangible outcomes. Properly structured reward and recognition programs achieve greater results across a variety of metrics, and engagement scores increase as employees feel appreciated and recognized for their accomplishments.
The shrinking talent pool is of great concern to employers, so attracting new talent and retaining current key employees is now a top priority. Engaged employees stay longer, achieve greater results and become advocates for the company.
Some ways to increase employee engagement are:
- Use the right employee engagement survey. The data collected must be specific, relevant and actionable.
- Set the tone from the top. Company leaders and managers should work with employees to identify barriers to engagement and identify opportunities to affect positive change.
- Select the right managers. Not everyone is cut out to be a manager. Hiring a manager (or selecting one for your engagement/recognition efforts) requires specific skills that not everyone possesses. Make sure you’ve got the right managers in place who want to see the employee succeed and will help them identify and maximize their strengths.
- Coach your managers and hold them accountable. Enable managers to play an active role in planning recognition and engagement programs. Great managers accept that measurements move company goals forward and will accept accountability for results.
- Relate engagement goals to everyday activities. Make engagement activities meaningful within the employee’s work day. Describe what success looks like and show examples of the behavior that is expected.
Performance Improvement and Employee Recognition
In addition to contributing to company culture and engagement, employee recognition impacts:
- Employee turnover/tenure
- Employee morale
- Reduced safety incidences
- The customer experience and loyalty
- Market share
Formal recognition programs allow the organization to communicate their goals and priorities. Employees will pay attention to what is measured and analyzed. Likewise, a properly-designed employee recognition program will include a communication platform between employees and management.
A vibrant work culture is vital in reaching top prospective employees and encouraging current employees to stay engaged and perform at their best. Most likely, that culture is one in which employee contributions, achievements and hard work is acknowledged by company leaders.
An employee who can confidently say they matter at work and know they’re appreciated by management will be deeply engaged, enthusiastic and dedicated to company goals.
Formal recognition programs don’t have to be costly. Get creative. Find solutions.
Learn new ways to recognize employee performance; and therefore, increase employee engagement and move your practices forward by registering online for the August 30 webcast, “Leveraging Employee Recognition as an Engagement Strategy.”