Friday is Employee Appreciation Day! An opportunity for companies to show their employees that they really care and that they value their contributions.
Not a bad idea on its merits. Unless, of course, it’s the only time you give employee recognition any real consideration.
What I mean by that is this. The idea of an Employee Appreciation “Day” begs the question: What about all the other days of the year? Shouldn’t we be recognizing employees as often as possible?
We don't want to be "Debbie Downers" and highlight the negative on such a positive day, but the majority of employees don’t feel appreciated nearly enough for what they do. 72% of employees say they don’t get nearly enough praise. One day alone isn’t going fix that. The lack of appreciation most employees feel has a real drag on their performance. Recognition and praise sustains individual productivity across a wide range of business measures.
There is also the issue of loyalty. There is a direct correlation between recognition and an employee’s intent to stay with the company. In fact, when people leave their jobs it usually has very little to do with what they are getting paid and more to do with how often they get recognized. Gallup has found that almost half of all employees are actively looking for new work, while a recent survey by TopResume says that 73% of all employees are “open” to hearing about new opportunities. Frequent recognition (and not a made up once-a-year events) is what changes that.
Businesses everywhere are concerned about employee retention. Rightly so. In an era defined by low unemployment rates and a shortage of skilled workers, departing workers do more than create openings that are hard to fill. They take institutional know-how with them and create relationship voids between customers and other support staff.
That’s why employee turnover is such an expensive proposition for companies. Depending on one’s role in the organization the cost of replacing an employee can be staggering. It can start at 150% of an annual salary for mid-level employees and balloon to over 400% for high-level, specialized talent. Effective employee recognition can lower turnover rates by up to 31%.
So what can companies do to increase the volume of appreciation an employee receives? Here are 3 things you can do to make more days feel like Employee Appreciation day.
1. Formalize recognition.
That may sound like a no-brainer but too many businesses still treat employee appreciation as an ad-hoc activity. Installing a platform that makes the act of giving and receiving recognition easier, will not only increase the volume of acknowledgments people receive, it will make it a central part of your culture.
2. Encourage employees to recognize one another.
Frequent feedback from co-workers can actually be more impactful than an occasional “well done” from a senior manager, especially for younger generations who value the opinions of peers. A social recognition platform will give managers, executives, and co-workers alike the opportunity to chime in and praise good work.
3. Tie recognition to a specific activity or outcome.
Recognition is always more impactful when it’s given in the context of a specific, results-focused action. That’s not to say that random praise isn’t helpful. It is. But if you want your recognition to really register, tie it to something that’s meaningful to the company, the employee or both. Examples can include getting an important project done on time, jumping in to help out with a critical client issue, serving on an interdepartmental task force or getting certified in a new work related competency.