A new XpertHR guide to employee recognition looks at the importance of praising people for what they’ve achieved. Sheila Attwood looks at the business benefits of building a recognition culture and how this differs from simply offering employees a bonus.
At its simplest, recognition is saying “thank you” or “well done” to an employee for doing a good job, but it can extend up to a formal award presented at a major company event.
Good practice manual: employee recognition
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XpertHR’s new guide to employee recognition explains the importance of building a recognition culture, as well as providing guidance on introducing both informal and formal employee recognition schemes.
Recognition is closely associated with employee engagement, says co-author of the guide Chris Wilson: “Recognition can be significant in how engaged employees feel at work and a lack of recognition can have a detrimental impact on employee turnover.”
Research points to engaged employees being more motivated, committed and focused, so improved organisational performance is likely to follow.
According to Michael Rose, co-author of the report: “recognition can be in many different forms and may be looked at as a continuum, running from day-to-day schemes (saying “thank you”) through informal schemes (at a local level), to high profile formal schemes operated at corporate level”.
However, employers don’t have to go as far as a high-value award presented in front of the whole company. In fact, when setting out it may work best to have low value awards that are decided on at a local level. As the scheme beds in, there is the opportunity to introduce a more formal scheme.
These will need more administration, including a set of qualifying criteria that are given to all employees, nominators and assessors. Consistency in approach to what is being measured will help to ensure the scheme is a success.
Many employers will look to introduce a recognition scheme to help build the desired culture, but if an organisation is serious about it having a specific scheme will be only part of building a recognition culture.
The organisation will also need to build a management style that sees basic recognition as part of effective management, with managers thanking employees as a matter of course.
What organisations should not do is confuse awards made via an employee recognition scheme with incentives such as a bonus – these motivate people to reach a target in order to gain the award, whereas recognition is the act of praise for what an employee has done.