This Friday marks Employee Appreciation Day. If you think your employees don't know that, think again!
Many CEOs will publicly declare that their employees are their most valuable resource; sadly far too few take the extra step in communicating that clearly. How do you think employees at Yahoo feel after newly minted CEO Marissa Mayer recently sent out a memo that told employees that worked from home that they either needed to begin working at the office or quit. While Mayer may be making smart business choices for Yahoo's profitability, the message has sparked a lot of debate and the private, internal memo was leaked by a Yahoo employee.
In a recent e-book published by Staffing Plus on Employee Engagement, we reported that according to the Gallup organization over 74% of US workers are not engaged in their work. It is estimated that lost revenue from actively disengaged employees hovers near $370 billion annually.
So, if you're not making any effort to show your employees how much you value them, it is probably costing you in both actual dollars and in productivity. And, its not that difficult. Just take a moment to acknowledge someone's contribution or performance personally and watch their reaction. It really means something when a supervisor or the CEO stops to just say "thank you" or "job well done."Employees are human after all and need to feel valued.
Employee Recognition Programs
Organizations with fully functioning HR Departments may already have "employee recognition programs." If you're a smaller organization or one whose HR Department is not equipped to initiate these efforts, the challenge is to make it a priority and then do it consistently. Simply designating one day a month or quarter to recognize the contributions of particular employees can be a way to keep employees engaged.
Remember you want to recognize employees for going over and above their specific roles and responsibilities. This is now about rewarding folks for longevity. Too many employee recognitions are around years of service, which is nice, but what you're trying to accomplish with a formal recognition program is to communicate that what they do every day matters.
Identify What is Important to Your Employees
Too many organizations have canned approaches to employee recognition. Certificates, blast emails, department lunches are all nice. But what works for one group of employees does not work for everyone. So send out a quick survey and find out what your employees might value:
- Gift Cards to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks?
- A free lunch?
- Movie tickets?
- Time off?
These are all great ideas and the possibilities are endless. What is important is that you asked and then listened to what was important to them.
Communicate from the Top Down
As the organization's leader, you need to communicate that Employee Appreciation is part of your corporate culture and ensure that your directors and managers understand they are part of the process.
Building strong teams where employees feel engaged to the mission of the company will decrease turnover, improve morale, and add to your success. According to the Department of Labor, 64% of people leave their jobs because they feel under appreciated. Now, think about what it costs to replace an employee against the cost of implementing a consistent Employee Appreciation Program and do the math.
Ways to Recognize Employees
The idea is to recognize your employees publicly and for specific behaviors or work product. Help them realize that when they put in those extra hours to get an important job done; or their ability to manage a client relationship that brought in more business; or their attention to detail that averted a potential disaster was noticed and truly appreciated.
So make time at staff meetings, annual events like a summer picnic or holiday party, newsletters, a place on your corporate website to give a heart felt shout out to those employees that drive your business every day.
Whatever you decide, if you take the time to recognize a job well done and communicate that consistently, you will be well on your way to providing a working environment for your staff that keeps them engaged and productive.
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