Staff recognition helps engage employees

by on May 12, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Boost commitment, performance and retention with staff recognition

About half of American workers just show up, do what’s expected, and live for the weekend, says recent research by the Hay Group.
Yet there’s equally compelling evidence that when employees are passionate about their work, productivity and profits will skyrocket.
Examples abound:

  • At one multi-office professional firm, offices with engaged employees outperformed others by 25% or more in sales.
  • After getting employees engaged in delivering better customer service, sales jumped 15% at test-market Saks Fifth Avenue department stores.
  • A reengagement initiative at a General Dynamics division cut attrition there from 20% to 2% in just three years. Even better, earnings and profits doubled.

Can you get from here to there – especially on the shoestring budget most of us have to cope with? Definitely. And you don’t need a fancy consulting firm to do it, either. Here’s where to begin.

Staff recognition starts with communication and engagement

Hay Group studies show employees “in the engine room” want to be part of something great, and to feel the company (and especially their immediate supervisor) cares about them as people.

Start your staff recognition program by helping managers paint a clear picture of where the company is going. Show each employee where they fit, and how their contribution matters.

This goes well beyond intoning lofty-sounding mission statements. You need to connect on an emotional level, so people feel better about their work, their role and how they are treated.

Use your staff recognition program to reinforce your corporate goals

Direct “line of sight” goals to shoot for, such as faster response times or lower scrap rates, helps clarify each employee’s contribution. And they can serve as the basis for performance-based staff recognition and rewards.
At General Dynamics, graphic “learning maps” showed each employee clear links between his or her job and the company’s financial success.
Example: Faster cycle time in engineering cut overhead, which allowed the company to bid more competitively and brought in more business at higher margins.

Involve employees in staff recognition

Asking employees for their input on ways to improve business processes or procedures is a key to building energy and excitement into the work they do.
Example: When a small Midwest manufacturer of medical equipment lost a key client on price, employees were asked, “What can we do to make us more competitive?” Employees came up with dozens of process improvements that, all told, sliced 30% off materials costs.

Reward performers publicly

Performance-based staff recognition and rewards are an important component in building an engaged workforce. And line-of-sight goals for employees, workgroups and departments should make the task much easier. But a supervisor who ignores good performance may be the biggest passion killer of all. Work with your managers so that they “catch people doing something right,” rather than focus relentlessly on finding errors and fixing blame.

Start with a small but directed staff recognition pilot project

It takes time to get employees more fully engaged, or passionate about their work. In some cases it requires a top-down culture shift. But the payoffs can be enormous.

Best bet: Identify a single department, location or workgroup where generating passion and engagement will make a quantifiable difference in results. Keep close tabs on the project with pre- and post-tests or analyses that you can use to win over management skeptics. Many of them may still cling to the idea that this is all way too “touchy-feely” for them.

Source: Hay Group HR 3.14

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