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Employee Recognition Should Be Pervasive

Sixty percent of best-in-class organizations consider employee recognition extremely valuable in driving individual performance. This statement comes from the Aberdeen Group’s recent report, “The Power of Employee Recognition.” Yet the report goes on to say that “only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition.”

This disconnect becomes more alarming when you consider research from Bersin by Deloitte showing “organizations with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement had 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than those organizations with ineffective recognition programs.”

As decades of studies have shown, employee recognition is an integral component of effective performance management. In her blog post, “Recognition: A Secret Ingredient in Effective Talent Management,” Bersin by Deloitte analyst, Stacia Garr, noted that the other important elements of performance management include goal setting (and revising), coaching, and development planning. Garr writes: “These elements of performance management work together in concert to ensure employees receive the ongoing feedback and support they need to understand how they are performing and adjust their behavior in real-time.”

Those of us who haven’t given enough attention to employee recognition are missing out on an easy and effective means of letting our employees know—on a continual basis—exactly why they’re valued and appreciated. This means we’re also missing an opportunity to raise employee engagement.

According to MIT’s HR function, employees are most satisfied when recognition comes from a blend of sources—with managers offering half of this recognition, peers offering 30 percent of it, and the organization itself offering 20 percent (via formal programs). MIT also offers some useful best practices for designing and maintaining employee recognition programs. These include:

·      Asking employees how they like to be recognized.

·      Using the criteria for recognition to tie the organization’s mission, goals and values to employees’ work and roles.

·      Creating a program that allows for participation at all levels (peer to peer, manager to employee, and employee to manager) and in all areas of the organization.

·      Sharing the decision-making process for developing your program with the entire organization.

·      Building employee feedback mechanisms into your program.

To fill our organizations with great talent—and then achieve and sustain superior engagement and performance levels—we need to make employee recognition a priority. And this recognition shouldn’t come from managers alone. It needs to come from every level and every member of our organizations.

Employee recognition should be pervasive.