How to Build a Culture That is Rich in Recognition

COVID-19 has turned work lives upside down for most employees with projects intervened, budgets slashed, and no end in sight for work from home. When the future seems unpredictable, hard-working employees are what will navigate every company through the crisis, keeping them motivated is of utmost importance. So how can employees be rewarded and recognized for their efforts when everything is disrupted?

The answer lies in organizations re-imagining their recognition strategies so that employees can be encouraged to perform at their best. But with team lunches and awards nights off-limits and one-time cash incentives less likely in an economic downturn, employers will need to find more apt ways to reward and recognize their workforce to demonstrate to employees that they care about their work and well-being, even when they aren’t in the office. 

In the wake of the current situation, Sodexo hosted a webinar on "How to Build a Culture that is Rich in Recognition" with Neha Sethi, Assistant Vice President, C&B, Cushman & Wakefield India. Here are some of the interesting insights from the webinar:

Why does it matter for employers to recognize employees?

Purpose

Recognizing employees' work and their impact on the team and the organization encourages a sense of purpose. It helps employees understand how their work resonates with the larger picture of the company and how their contributions matter. As humans, we are motivated by knowing how our work helps others, and recognition is a significant part of it. Thus, frequent, and visible recognition reminds employees that they're all working toward a shared goal.

Retention

Between writing and sharing a job description, screening and interviewing job candidates, negotiating relocation packages, paying referrals, or signing bonuses, the cost of finding a new employee is significant. Although welcoming a new team member is an exciting time, it is imperative to note that productivity might drop with the addition of a new team member before it goes up. Fortunately, with positive recognition, employers can reverse this and keep their talent around for much longer.

Productivity

A productive workforce benefits the organization in every way, from increasing profitability to optimizing resources to increasing employee morale. Giving employees the right feedback to know which of their efforts are most appreciated helps them understand the impact of their work and what to prioritize, which eventually increases productivity and their morale. Personalized approaches make a considerable difference. For instance, frequent and visible praise promotes inclusion, creates a sense of belonging at work, boosts engagement levels and customer satisfaction, and thus adds to more loyalty to organization. 

How Can Employers Create an Environment that is Rich in Recognition

Be Specific

Adjusting to remote working can be hard, which is why it is essential to reward specific behaviors employers would like to see more of. Not only does this show appreciation, but it also encourages other employees to follow suit. Moreover, it is more meaningful when it relates to a specific accomplishment or business objective. Remember that the motive is to celebrate the intentions and efforts and not just outcomes.

Be on Time

Recognition that arrives months after the job is done, is not nearly as meaningful as recognition received promptly. The longer it takes for leaders or management to recognize employees, the less likely employees will see the affirmations as authentic. Consider employee recognition a priority and have formal systems in place, so make hay while the sun shines. 

Be a Part of Their World

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to giving and receiving appreciation. Management should understand the primary language of appreciation of every individual. And then recognize them accordingly. Beyond a bonus or a raise, consider customized virtual gift cards, meal cards, multi-purpose benefit cards, as it is a well-known fact that employees prefer to be recognized with gift cards instead of cash. Offering curated experiences is the best way to recognize honest efforts by employees and incentivize positive workplace behavior.

Be Creative

While it is crucial to recognize major accomplishments, sending a "thank-you", "good work", "job well done" or appreciation mails can motivate employees. These thankyous or special shoutouts do not have to come from managers alone; some employees find recognition from peers even more motivating. 

Be a Bridge 

Recognition helps employees see that their organization values them and their contributions to the success of their team and the organization. Ensure recognition is optimal company-wide to celebrate achievements. When appreciated publicly, recognition is a huge motivator for employees, and encouraging peers to participate in the celebration drives motivation further. This is quite significant, especially when organizations expand or change. It helps employees build a sense of security in their value to the organization, thus motivating them to continue great work. 

No matter what stressful scenarios effect workplaces, people-centric and recognition-rich culture must be a vital building block for organizations. Leaders need to maximize on positive reinforcement and address the emotional need for employee motivation and better engagement.

To dive deeper into the topic and gain more valuable insights, watch the full discussion here!