Improving Employee Satisfaction, Retention, and Productivity

Study after study has shown that when employers take the time to recognize the achievements of their employees, they are rewarded with impressive productivity gains, improved employee satisfaction and higher retention rates. 

Improved Employee Satisfaction and Higher Retention Rates.

All of those things directly improve your company’s bottom line.  If that’s something you’re interested in, and let’s face it, what business owner isn’t, then you’ll find these two articles extremely helpful.  Let’s take a closer look at things you can do, starting today, that will begin to fundamentally change the culture of your company.

Get Buy In From Both Your Management Team And Your Employees

Don’t just show up for work one day and announce a new recognition program.  If you want it to be maximally effective, you’re going to need the help and support of your management team to make it work, and you’re going to need your employees excited about it. 

Call a meeting, or a series of smaller, more focused meetings and talk to different groups of employees about what you want to do.  Solicit their ideas, get their feedback and allow them to help guide the shape and direction that the program ultimately takes.  In short, don’t design the program in a vacuum.  Also, set a budget but give them wide latitude in selecting the specific gifts and awards to hand out.

Peer To Peer Recognition

It’s natural that you want to keep control of at least part of the recognition process, but it’s equally important to give your employees buy in.  Set some basic parameters and then allow your employees to select who the star performers are at every recognition interval.  It could be monthly or quarterly; that part doesn’t matter nearly as much as consistency and giving your employees a say as to whom they choose to elevate for recognition in each period.

Give your team a budget to buy awards, gifts and other means of recognition.  If you, or they are struggling to come up with gift ideas, this is a great place to begin!

Be Sure To Incorporate Years Of Service Recognition Into The Design Of Your Program

This is one piece of the puzzle you can keep for yourself.  In addition to recognizing the star performers your recognition committee selects, be sure to reward your employees for years of hard work and faithful service to your cause.  A good place to start is to be sure to recognize employees for 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20-years of service but of course, you can add to this if you wish.

Create An Anonymous Feedback System

In addition to getting feedback and buy in from employees at all levels regarding the creation of your recognition program, it’s also a great idea to set up an anonymous feedback system that allows employees at all levels to give comments and feedback about any aspect of the operation of your firm.

When you do this, treat any incoming feedback you get seriously.  Pay attention to it.  An anonymous system gives people the freedom to be frank and honest with you in ways that they may not be able to do face to face.  You don’t necessarily have to act on every scrap of feedback you get, but all of it is invaluable and provides a glimpse under the hood at the beating heart of your operation that’s just impossible to get by any other means.

This, of course, is just the tip of the recognition iceberg.  In the next article, we’ll provide you with more hard hitting ideas!

Understand The Key Drivers Of Employee Retention

There have been numerous studies over the years that have zeroed in on the elements employees regard as essential to job satisfaction and a lack of job satisfaction is, of course, one of the main reasons employees move on to greener pastures.  Knowing what those elements are and playing to them is essential to reducing employee turnover.  If you don’t know them already, they are:

  1. An employee’s relationship with his or her manager
  2. The number of promotional opportunities inside your firm, and the potential for professional growth and development
  3. And a respect of work/life balance

If you don’t promote from within, if you’re employees don’t feel that you’re approachable, and you don’t respect your employee’s home life or give them the means of professional growth, then you can’t expect your employees to stick by you in the long term.  It’s just that simple.  Gifts and awards are a great start, but they’ll only take you so far.

It’s Not Always All About The Money

There have been numerous studies on this topic as well, and the simple truth is that money is a relatively poor means increasing employee productivity.  Sure, up to a certain point, money matters, but once an employee is making enough that all his or her basic needs are met, throwing more money at them generally won’t make them more productive.

What does work though, are things like greater autonomy in the workplace, more opportunities for professional development and ongoing rewards and recognition that have nothing to do with cash.  If all you’re doing is throwing money at the problem, your recognition program isn’t going to be as effective as it could be.  You’ve got to think outside the box.

Choose Your Own Gift Card

If you are interested in enhancing a gift or award with a bit of cash, a great way to do so is to implement a ‘choose your own gift card’ element to your program.  Have half a dozen or so options available and when an employee is recognized, let him or her pick the gift card he wants, rather than just handing out something that might never get used.

Understand That Recognition Is Not Entitlement

This is something you’ll want to be mindful of as you launch and manage the program.  You want to be sure to stress to your employees and to your recognition committee that recognition and entitlement aren’t at all the same thing.  Recognition is given based on the parameters you set forth.  Just because your employees think they’ve been doing a great job, if they haven’t met your recognition requirements, then they can’t expect to be rewarded.

These are all powerful ideas that will not only improve the chances that your recognition program will ultimately succeed, they’ll also work to quietly transform your company’s culture in the very best ways and your employees will reward you accordingly.