Employee recognition, or social capital, is a high commodity in the workplace right now. As one of the main causes for The Great Resignation, employees are on the hunt for greener pastures; companies that will offer them better benefits, flexible schedules, and an inviting environment. For some employers, achieving these standards can be difficult. After all, it can be hard to let go of the status-quo. Understanding the importance of workplace recognition — but also how to implement it — will be crucial in surviving the new wave of employment. This is something CEO and founder of Preciate, Ed Stevens has become an expert on.
The Importance of Workplace Recognition
Recent studies have shown that appreciation in the workplace leads to increased productivity, stronger relationships, and loyalty to the company. Employees that feel valued are less likely to jump ship when things get rough. “When employees spend 40 hours a week with the same people day in, day out, it’s best case scenario that they all have a good relationship with each other,” says Stevens. Feeling connected to other team members only helps build the team up more. Giving someone a “gold star”, or recognizing them for their hard work, is a great way to do this.
“Especially now that a good portion of the workforce is working some type of remote schedule, feeling connected to the team is an even more difficult undertaking,” Stevens says. Since the 2020 pandemic, some new employees haven’t, and probably never will, meet their coworkers in person. That’s why making connections and letting all team members know how valued they are is so imperative. Developing personal connections is difficult when the parties are in different states, but hey, if people can fall in love over the internet, perhaps co-workers can become friends; just keep it within HR’s guidelines.
It’s also worth noting that recognition needs to come from both leadership roles and peers. It’s easy for the people who see the hard work being done every day to acknowledge each other and support one another because more often than not, the higher ups don’t see all that goes into a project and they show up at the end with a “good job” and that’s it. “[Recognition] needs to come often and from everyone,” Steven says.
Integrating New Ideas
There is a long list of ways companies can begin to establish relationships and connections with their employees. One of which is Mr. Stevens’ employee recognition platform, Preciate Recognition. The tool allows team members to customize badges and stickers to reinforce the behaviors and traits that matter most to them. Employees can encourage and celebrate each other as often as they’d like.
In addition to the new platform, Stevens suggests companies adopt a new style of meetings (whether virtual or in-person) that encourage engagement, conversation, and participation. Oftentimes, meetings are one-sided and 95 percent of the attendees never speak. By encouraging a portion of the meeting to hold no “shop talk” and instead get to know one another, bonds are formed that create a more connected team. “It’s all a domino effect,” says Stevens, “because when you have a more connected team, they’re productivity goes up. When they’re rewarded for that productivity, you have a happier team, and so on, so forth.”
For those remote teams, hosting virtual happy hours, themed parties that include icebreakers, or activities to get everyone involved is a great option. Simple changes like this can solidify a company’s dedication to the betterment of their team.
Recognition can no longer be just an Employee of the Month certificate that comes two months late. There’s potential for real connections to be made. With an intentional effort to regularly and consistently give more recognition, retention rates and more importantly, company satisfaction will increase.