Employee recognition is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry. More and more companies are beginning to see the positive results that come with rewarding employees with something other than a paycheck, whether it's recognition from a manager, or from a peer. Even though companies are implementing more programs designed to keep employees engaged and happy, employee satisfaction and engagement remain painfully low year after year.
Two factors to those dismal stats are:
- 87% of employee recognition programs reward only tenure.
- Peers (not managers) are the number one influence for coworkers.
What's so important about coworkers and tenure rewards?
Rewarding tenure is a great idea. It helps employees feel good about the time they’ve dedicated to your company. However, if you’re only shown appreciation for something one day in every five years, how truly valued would you feel? The other 1,825 days in those five years when you’re NOT being appreciated might seem...unpleasant.
How would that work in other aspects of life? How happy is a wife whose husband gets her flowers once every five years compared to the spouse who gets flowers often, for little things (or no reason at all)? How well does a car run if you change the oil every five years? Do you water your plant on the anniversary of the day you bought it, and then forget about it the rest of the year? All these things, like any relationship, need to be cultivated and constantly cared for if you want them to survive. Otherwise things stagnate, fall apart, and go sour.
"Thanks for that. You're SO great."*
That’s why point number two factors in so highly. An employee’s relationship with a company is shaped by the people they work with every single day. Coworkers, peers, and those in their same departments are the people who create the everyday life of each employee, the faces that make up their daily routine. The opinions of other departments, different teams, upper level managers, and accountants whom they don’t see aren’t going to matter as much as the individuals with whom they solve problems, overcome obstacles, have inside jokes, etc. These are the folks whose influence matters in the life of an employee. And this dynamic exists no matter where you're employed in the company.
So if you're a CEO looking for a way to improve engagement, consider that a rewards program that comes from the top down once a year can be much less effective than a reward program that comes from an employee’s direct manager, or even from their peers, simply because of the levels of separation that exist between different strata in a company.
Let’s take a look at two different kinds of social recognition programs to help you decide which one is right for your organization.
Peer to Peer: In a peer to peer recognition program, employees have the opportunity to give monetary or non-monetary recognition to other employees, along with a message explaining why they’re giving it.
"Thanks for that. You're SO great."*
Peer to peer recognition is a great way to build or reinforce a culture where employees feel valued by their coworkers. Employees have a better idea of the daily effort it takes to do their jobs than a manager does, and therefore receiving recognition from a peer who understands what it took to accomplish something can be more valued than receiving praise from a manager, or even the CEO.
Nominations: In a nomination program employees have the opportunity to recognize another employee with a suggested monetary value added to the recognition. A manager will then either approve or reject the monetary nomination. You'll essentially get all the of positive reinforcement that comes from a peer to peer program, and not have to worry about the potential stressors of a monetized system.
Because recognition has to be approved, it will be taken seriously and given based on actual merit. You can build a culture of recognition and appreciation without having to spend money every time. Words of encouragement can still be sent even if the money isn't approved. For the employees, nominations will come with a certain gravitas, whether or not the monetary value is approved.
In the end the program that is best for you company will depend entirely on your company culture. Whether your current culture is something you want to enhance, overhaul, or renew, Awardco’s customizable reward programs can be tailored to your organization’s needs and help you find real value in employee recognition.