How do you create a culture of recognition, you ask? Well, first you need to understand why you would do it. Once you understand the why behind something it, it is easier to buy in and commit to the cause, so to speak. There are really two "whys" behind an employee recognition program. There is the business why or the business imperative. Similar to the saying "happy wife, happy life", "happy employees, happy bottom line" (I know it doesn't rhyme, but you get the idea). But that seems to simple, so let's go through a more detailed list of the benefits of employee recognition.
- improved sense of job satisfaction leading to increased employee engagement
- increased employee engagement leading to increased retention of employees
- increased retention leading to increased customer satisfaction
- increased customer satisfaction leading to increased productivity
- increased productivity leading to higher profits
All in all, a pretty powerful list of business reasons and that is just a sampling! The second reason why, well, that is a personal reason. There is nothing that feels as good as giving to someone else! Try it - do something for someone without an expectation of anything in return and see how it feels. It is actually a selfish act and it feels great and the more you do it the more you want to do it! One thing about employee recognition programs that I would encourage is to do some of it yourself. Don't hand it over to HR and have them reap all the rewards! As a manager, a CEO, a co-worker - get involved! Feel some of the love and do something for someone else at work in the form of recognition.
Having said that, let's get down to brass tacks - what does a culture of recognition really mean? In my experience, it means that recognition is embedded in everything you do and all of your employees are living and breathing it. It means that the mission and values of your organization are aligned to your belief in recognizing people for their contribution.
Stay tuned and in my next blog post, I will share tools, techniques and resources for incorporating both structured incentive programs and informal recognition strategies into your people management practices.