It should be no dispute that good salary alone will not get employees far in their careers or keep them sufficiently motivated to be at the top of their game. That is why HR organisations and professionals conduct surveys to keep their organisations informed about the factors that drive employees in their daily jobs.
One of them, is the feeling of appreciation. A survey by Gallup found that 65% of employees do not feel appreciated at work. Another survey by Office Team revealed that up to 66% of respondents are likely to quit if they do not feel appreciated. Worse, if these employees choose not to quit but indirectly contribute to lowering the morale at the workplace, which slowly damages the overall employee engagement and productivity rate.
Types of recognition
Here are several ideas that could get your employees excited:
1. Verbal / written compliments
A “thank you” may be small, but it could mean a lot to an employee who has contributed time and effort into his/her work. Or better still, send the employee a written letter, or even an email, detailing how his/her work has influenced the team’s performance and led to favourable results. This potentially creates a longer lasting impact on the employee’s morale as letters and emails can be re-read. Better yet, blast an email throughout the organisation, attaching the employee’s name and photo, and tell the organisation his/her exemplary performance.
2. Small gifts or trophies
Organisations can custom make trophies and gifts, such as pens, mugs, bags and note books, engraved with the word “thank you” and the employee’s name. This is a good way to ensure that the appreciation is personalised. If the employee or team has been crucial in achieving certain results or completing an important project, make sure this is expressed in the engraving.
3. Team meals
Regardless whether an individual or a team outperforms, meal treats are good ways to reward excellent work. Do mention what the gathering is for, and express to the team or employee how much their effort matters to the organisation.
4. Unrecorded time-offs
Giving unrecorded time-offs is a great way to recognise an employee’s effort throughout a difficult duration of work. The employee may have put in extra time, sacrificed social and festive gatherings, attend to work even when he/she is unwell, performed work on weekends just to meet last-minute deadlines or covered work for another employee. Allow the employee to take some time-off to recover from the physical and mental stress.
5. Colleagues’ nominations and approvals
Here is where things can get serious. Have colleagues nominate and vote for employees who have consistently outperformed based on various categories. Managers and bosses can also make autonomous decisions on who to reward. Perform this over the annual dinner.
Employee recognition can be done based on many categories, such as “top sales”, “most improved employee”, “consistently punctual”, “least medical leave”, “most consistent in performance”, “most well-mannered”, “most resourceful”, “most innovative”, “most helpful”, “most responsive to emails”, and so on. Not every category deserves a winner, at least not every year; this will keep things interesting.
6. Unexpected bonuses
It is clear that good salary alone will do little to drive employees. However, an unexpected reward can be a good psychological boost. Giving unexpected monetary rewards demonstrates to employees that their effort is measurable and can be translated into something tangible. But, it is best that such rewards are kept minimal, used sparingly for extraordinary situations, such as when an employee’s extra hard work has saved the organisation a hefty cost or earned a strong revenue.
Remember that it is not the amount or size of reward, but the thought that counts. The importance of employee recognition is that an employer conveys the message that an employee’s effort is known and acknowledged. However, instead of making employee recognition an organisation policy, try nurturing the habit of gratitude, with hope that employee recognition can be developed into an organisation culture.