How to Become a Dream Employer
If every problem has a solution, what’s the solution for a company where everyone is frustrated, where things don’t get done well or on time, and where a business is struggling to keep its doors open?
This is not a new management problem. In fact, it’s a problem that businesses have had for as long as anyone can remember. The remarkable thing about this problem is that there is a solution. Unfortunately, few companies use it because they simply don’t understand how to take care of employees.
Instead of trying this solution, most dysfunctional companies try to increase pay or tack on a few more benefits, assuming that employees are disengaged because they don’t feel rewarded enough for the work they do. Unfortunately, this obvious idea of amping up financial incentives does not move the needle in a noticeable way.
The solution is simpler. It’s employee recognition.
Let’s talk about what it is and what role it plays in the workplace. How can it encourage productivity?
What is Employee Recognition?
Here’s an illustration of how an employee recognition program works:
Imagine that your company has a corporate awards banquet. It rents a ballroom and hands out gorgeous EDCO crystal awards to top sales performers and other employees who have significantly contributed to the success of the business.
It’s not just a dull ceremony, where everyone is obligated to attend and listen to boring speeches by company executives to honor its top performers while everyone else looks on.
No, it’s an outrageous success.
It turns out to be the best banquet employees have ever attended.
It has a Hollywood-style theme with a stand-up comedian who emcees. Everyone is dressed to the nines and walks into the ballroom on a red carpet.
Pictures are taken of the recipients receiving their awards from the CEO to create the illusion that the paparazzi are covering the event. (This bypasses the time-wasting approach where recipients are gathered on stage to pose for group photos after all the awards have been given out.)
Everything is done in a light-hearted way, as you might expect at an Oscar event. There are no long-drawn-out introductions and everyone laughs a lot at the persiflage and one-liners.
The Role Employee Recognition Plays in The Workplace
The most important thing about an employee recognition program is not what you do but how you do it. There are many ways to recognize employees for their hard work—events, sales incentives, spiffs, and so on—but none of these are any more effective than simply giving everyone a pay raise.
What makes a difference is not the type of employee recognition program you want to create, but the spirit with which you do it.
When done right, as in the example of the corporate awards banquet, everyone feels a sense of belonging to a shared enterprise.
In short, an employee recognition program, regardless of how clever the incentive, will flop if done in a mechanistic way. Conversely, it will create team spirit and loyalty if done in the right way.
How to Create an Employee Recognition Program
With hundreds of employee recognition programs possible, where do you even start?
Here’s the thing: you don’t need numerous programs. You just need a few good ones.
The best way to figure out what employee recognition programs to use is to ask your employees. Show them a menu of ideas you’re considering and ask for their opinions about them. In fact, just the act of asking is positive. It shows that you care about your employee’s happiness and want to know what makes them happy.
Unfortunately, what most companies tend to do is to research the topic of employee recognition programs, choose a few ideas that appear to be promising and then roll them out.
They are often surprised that what looks good on paper doesn’t have much of an impact. It’s rather like buying someone a birthday present but they only pretend to appreciate it. The idea of gifting is a great idea—but people only appreciate gifts for things that they want.
In conclusion, an employee recognition program will work if you get two things right—do it with a spirit of enthusiasm and recognize employees in a way that makes them feel special.