Thursday, March 22, 2012

Are you Appreciating your Employees? And are you doing it right?

Title: Are you Appreciating your employees

Published in The HINDU Opportunities on March 21st, 2012

Online link to article

When asked people usually say they change jobs for more pay, but survey after survey shows that they quit because they did not get enough appreciation.

As a top performer reveals, “Employees have a basic human need to feel appreciated and to be recognised.

If you don't give them that, they will seek it out elsewhere.”

So, if you have people who don't receive employee recognition or enjoy their work, you company is failing to make profit.

When you reward and recognise your employees, and do it the right way, they are happier, stay longer and are more productive at work.

Several companies have employee recognition and award programmes to say ‘thank you', ‘well done', ‘we value you as an employee' etc., but, for an employee recognition programme to work, it must be custom-made to fit your company's culture.

The point is to say ‘thank you' frequently to employees who deserve it in a number of ways and this need not be expensive.

As a manager, here are some tips to make sure that your employee recognition programmes are being run the right way.

Think about your organisation

Knowing about your company's culture, understanding management's style in dealing with employees and finding out what your people are thinking, so you can improve are crucial to making your employee recognition programmes successful.

Understanding the atmosphere within the company is important - is the culture an ‘open-door' philosophy or is it closed and private?

How does management operate when dealing with employees?

Is the general mood in the office fun-filled and casual or more business-like and formal?

Thinking about these questions and also keeping in mind the feedback that you receive when sending out employee surveys will ensure that you are sincere in your efforts to make your employee recognition programmes work.

Determine the programme's objectives

While your company may have several employee recognition programmes such as one for rewarding length of service, another programme for employees who have demonstrated exemplary performance etc. it is important to contemplate on why and how each recognition programme will benefit your employees. Gather input from both management and employees about their expectations for the programme.

In a well-known IT company, it was just assumed that money was the biggest motivator for its employees.

The management thought that as long as they kept paying people more, they would do more work and be productive to make profit.

Later, when a new CEO took over and they conducted a poll, it turned out that the biggest perceived perk wasn't the highest salary or the largest bonus- it was the parking spaces.

Many of the employees had to park several buildings away and hence nearby spots were a highly valued perk.

The company then started rewarding improvements in behaviour with better parking spots and got incredible results.

Peer recognition

Many employees consider this a very key aspect of the employee appreciation process. Managers and senior management play a vital role in this type of employee recognition. Taking a few minutes out of an all-hands meeting or at staff meetings to thank employees who have made outstanding contributions is both cost effective and rewarding.

This is most beneficial as the employees value each other's influences more than their supervisor's.

Timing and flexibility

Decide the timing for the recognition programmes. Attempt to conduct smaller awards more often and other competitive awards such as employee of the month, quarter, year, spaced out more logically to encourage employee engagement.

Also, be prepared to change and modify your programmes as situations warrant.

This can be done in accordance with the feedback you receive from employees and management.

Lastly, remember that improving employee engagement is an on-going process and not the end result.

It is something that you have to do every day.

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