Humans crave attention; they want their efforts and hard work to be noticed, appreciated, and praised. This yearning starts in early childhood – children seek validation from their parents and caregivers, and adults want to feel validated in the workplace.
As the economic landscape becomes more competitive, businesses compete to attract and retain top talent. HR practitioners strive to create an environment and a workplace culture that fosters employee appreciation, where employees feel they are noticed and valued.
Recognising employees involves appreciating them for their achievements as well as their work ethic, commitment to the organization, and efforts.
While monetary rewards or gifts are always appreciated, this is not the only way to recognise your team. Recognition can be verbal and informal, where a manager praises an employee during a meeting for a job well done.
There is a place for each type of recognition, and it’s the manager and HR’s job to offer recognition appropriately.
Benefits of Employee Recognition
Employee recognition may initially seem like something that only benefits employees, but there are many advantages that companies that focus on recognizing employees enjoy.
Some of the benefits of recognizing employees include:
Reduced Staff Turnover
It’s often said that people don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers, and one of the things poor managers fail to do is recognize employees.
Having a high staff turnover is bad for business and is expensive. It takes time, money, and resources to go through the hiring process of searching for and employing new candidates. Then, onboarding and training new candidates take time which may slow down business processes and activities.
Employees who feel recognized are less likely to leave, leading to a lower staff turnover and a more productive business.
Like a high staff turnover, employees being absent from work slows down productivity, can cost money, and is bad for business.
Employees who feel their efforts and achievements are not appreciated are more likely to skip work regularly since they feel like their seniors won’t notice or that their contribution doesn’t matter to the company’s overall functioning.
When staff are praised and know their work is valued, they are less likely to be absent unless necessary since they know their work is appreciated.
Attract and Retain Top Talent
Regardless of technological advancements, human resources are arguably the most valuable asset to a company. To this end, businesses compete to attract the top talent in the industry, but after talented individuals join the company, businesses must retain them. After all, employees with sought-after skills who feel overlooked or unappreciated can be easily poached by a competitor.
While it’s normal to change companies every few years, skilled professionals are less likely to leave a company where they feel their efforts are valued.
Increases Employee Engagement and Motivation
Recognition gives your employees a sense of purpose and belonging and lets them know that their efforts and achievements make a difference and contribute to achieving company goals.
Motivation, on the other hand, is usually the driving force behind the effort. Usually, when an employee feels appreciated, they are motivated to work hard since they know their efforts are valued.
For example, let’s say you work very hard on a project, putting in extra hours to ensure it’s completed perfectly, but your manager says nothing when you submit it. You may feel deflated and wonder why you tried so hard, and with the next piece of work, you will probably put in less effort and do the bare minimum. On the other hand, if your manager thanks you for your efforts and praises you for the excellent work, you’re likely to feel motivated to put in just as much effort for the next piece of work or try even harder.
The goal of most companies is to be as productive as possible. Productivity is often linked to motivation. When employees feel appreciated and are recognised for their work, they will likely be motivated to work harder, which boosts productivity.
Reinforces Behaviours the Company Desires in Employees
Almost all companies have a set of values and a list of behaviours they look for and value in employees. Positive reinforcement is a simple concept that if you reward employees for certain behaviours, they will repeat them.
Employees want their peers and seniors to be pleased with them, so if they are praised for traits and behaviours the company values, they’re more likely to make an effort to keep up that behaviour.
For example, if the company values structured work hours and an employee is often late, they are less likely to try to be on time if their manager berates them. In contrast, if they are praised for coming in early, they are likely to feel pleased with the feedback and will be motivated to make an effort to be on time.
While being rewarded and satisfied in their jobs is good for employees, employee recognition also benefits companies. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are usually more motivated and productive and less likely to leave the company. They are also more likely to be dedicated and not miss work unnecessarily, which slows productivity.