In today’s competitive job market, employee recognition has become essential for attracting and retaining top talent regardless of company size, industry, or market.
While experts see the great resignation coming to a halt, people are still seeking new job opportunities in 2023. Talent turnover and scarcity will remain a risk for companies this year, with voluntary turnover expected to reach 35%, according to research from Work Institute.
So, how can you keep your talent? Humans need to feel appreciated or recognized for their efforts. And studies show that employees who feel appreciated for their work are more likely to stay. A Gallup report found that when workplace recognition programs are on-point, employees are:
- 73% less likely to “always” or “very often” feel burned out
- 56% less likely to be looking or watching for job opportunities
- 5x as likely to feel connected to their culture
Prioritizing employee recognition is a must for every business—it boosts workplace engagement, productivity, and connection while reducing turnover. Gallup reports that creating a culture of recognition can save a 10,000-employee company up to $16.1 million in employee turnover costs annually. That’s in addition to the cost savings from high employee engagement and productivity.
Yet, recent Gallop research found that only 36% of employees report their organization having some recognition system. And 40% or more employees say they receive recognition only a few times a year or less. If you don’t currently offer a workplace recognition program or if your existing program could use a refresh, these ideas can help.
How to create an effective employee recognition program.
According to Gallup’s findings, memorable employee recognition that hits the mark must be:
- Fulfilling. Recognition moments must be genuine and create a consistent, reliable experience.
- Authentic. Awards must mean something, both to the giver and the receiver.
- Equitable. While every award message should be unique, employees should be recognized consistently and equitably – especially with monetary rewards.
- Embedded in the culture. Recognition must be weaved into employees’ everyday life to build a genuine culture of appreciation.
- Personalized. Different employees have different preferences on how or where they receive employee recognition.
Using these essential elements as your guide can help you build an effective, memorable employee recognition program that creates a strong workplace culture that makes employees happy and motivates them to stick around.
Employee recognition program elements that work.
Employee recognition kits.
Custom employee kits and gift boxes are ideal for incenting employees in today’s remote and hybrid workplaces. They are flexible: Employee kits can be as simple or grand as you like, so they’re an excellent option for every budget. To make the connection even more personal, employee kits can be themed or tied to incentives or contests, seasons, departments or regions, anniversaries, employee well-being—you name it.
Hand-written notes or phone calls.
Take the time to acknowledge a job well done or celebrate a milestone with a handwritten note or a personal phone call. Both are rare in today’s digital world. Often, it’s the smallest gesture that makes the most significant impact.
Another Shamrock example: Our employee of the month program gathers nominations from our team about a colleague who lives out our culture in their everyday role, exceeding expectations and over-delivering. The winning employee is recognized via email (sent to our team nationwide) and on social media channels.
Celebrate non-work achievements.
Take an interest in what your employees are doing outside of the office: Whether they’re performing, competing, or heading up a volunteer effort, show your pride and support by promoting their activities and achievements by sharing details internally with your team and on social media.
We all love free stuff—especially when it’s on-trend and practical. Consider seasonal swag drops for your team. On birthdays or anniversaries, allow them to choose the branded swag they want most from a curated selection on an online company e-store. (Using an e-store solution is ideal for hybrid workers—order and drop-ship merchandise to your employee’s front door.) What to include? Choose the latest in top-brand apparel, work accessories like power banks and earbuds, and everyday items such as drinkware, portable Bluetooth speakers, tote bags, etc.
From industry articles and seminars to online classes and conferences, providing your employees with development opportunities is a big perk—and one that doesn’t need to be a significant investment. By simply sharing these resources with your team, you’re showing that you’re invested in their personal growth.
How to structure your employee recognition program.
How often should you reward employees? Who should get recognized? What kind of rewards should you offer? How will you manage reward fulfillment? There are many elements to consider when building an employee recognition program that’s both effective and manageable for your organization.
- Start by outlining your goals and objectives for your program and involve managers in the effort.
- Set a budget to guide your program selections.
- Next, outline your program—consider starting small and scaling to a more robust effort after you’ve got your footing. But remember that consistency is important.
- And finally, find a partner to help you manage the program, from designing and packaging employee recognition kits to program fulfillment and employee communication.
Our team at Shamrock helps companies manage successful employee recognition programs that are the cornerstone of healthy and meaningful workplace culture—which we know is an essential driver for employee retention. If you’d like ideas for your employee recognition efforts, reach out to start the conversation.