Employee Appreciation Day is March 3rd! — Why Employee Appreciation Really Matters.

Employee Appreciation Day is fast approaching (March 3rd), and given that, we thought it might be a good time to review exactly why it matters.  The statistics on the topic are clear.  As Forbes has previously reported, employees who feel appreciated are up to 12% more productive than their counterparts who don’t feel appreciated.

More productive employees means an improved bottom line for your company, no matter what business you’re in.

It gets better:  Hiring a new employee is an expensive, time-consuming proposition, but appreciated employees are also significantly less likely to leave for what they perceive to be “greener pastures” which means you have a lower turnover rate at your firm, which saves you both time and money, further enhancing your profits.

So that’s the practical side of the equation.  The nuts and bolts reasons why it matters to savvy business owners, but simply stating those facts raises new questions, which we’ll take a look at next.

What Does Employee Recognition Mean, Anyway?

Researchers at Gallup have polls, statistics and surveys on just about everything under the sun, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve spent a lot of time tracking statistics around employee recognition.  Here are just a few of their findings:

  • Only one employee in three feels truly recognized and appreciated for their contributions to the company they work for.
  • Employee recognition is most meaningful and successful when it comes from the employee’s manager, or a high level leader or CEO of the firm.
  • And monetary rewards aren’t as effective as most managers think they are, with things like social recognition, private recognition, and greater autonomy all reported as being more important.

The bottom line then, is that significant numbers of employees in today’s workforce are looking for something very specific from the people they work for: 

At regular intervals, they want recognition for their contributions, either in the form of public recognition and awards ceremonies, private “attaboys” from their managers or high level members of the company, or they want to see their accomplishments translate into greater autonomy in the workplace. 

If you’re not in the habit of giving those things to the people who work for you, then the odds are excellent that your employees don’t feel especially appreciated by you, and that could lead to trouble down the road.

How Did We Get Here?

If you’re feeling a bit blindsided by this recognition trend, know that you aren’t alone.  This isn’t something that’s always been present in the workforce and you’ve simply missed it, it’s more of a generational thing.

In other words, your older employees who are members of “The Greatest Generation,” the “Baby Boomers,” or even “Generation X” aren’t the group that’s driving the increased demand for workplace recognition.

Sure, they’ll happily accept it if it’s offered, but the big drivers of this tectonic shift in the workplace landscape are Millennials and members of “Generation Z.”  As they come to increasingly dominate the workforce, their desires are becoming increasingly mainstream and that’s why a great many managers seem surprised by the new trend that seemingly “came out of nowhere.”

It didn’t, really.  Your younger employees simply brought it with them, and now, here we are.

All that to say that this isn’t a phenomenon that’s simply going to go away.  It’s a feature of the modern workforce, not a bug, and the wise manager will embrace the change and give their employees the recognition they desire, which will go a long way toward locking in their top talent.

An Employee Recognition Program Is A Wonderful Place To Start

Now that you know what all the fuss is about, why it matters and how we got here, if you’re not currently spending much in the way of time or effort recognizing your star performers, you may be wondering how and where to start.

We’ve got an easy answer for that: Start your very own Recognition and Rewards program!

If that sounds like it’s going to be expensive and soak up a ton of your time, you’ll be happy to learn that it doesn’t have to.  In fact, the current best practices around setting up such a program are to take a fairly hands-off approach, setting up an employee committee to make the day to day decisions, with you providing the big picture which shapes and directs the program as a whole.

(For a detailed breakdown of this topic, download our free resource below)

Check out our detailed resource on how to setup a successful employee reward program

In other words, you decide what metrics matter most and how performance should be measured, then leave it to your employee committee to work out how exactly to measure that performance, and with what frequency. 

You can also leave it to your steering committee to purchase the rewards, awards and gifts to be given (after allocating a budget for them to work with), and even to decide who should receive the awards and rewards.

Naturally, you’d reserve the right to step in if things go off the rails, but honestly, if you express an interest in setting such a program up, you can expect your employees to bend over backwards to make it a success, which is a win for everybody involved.

All that to say that if you don’t have an employee recognition program up and running, March 3rd of this year, which is Employee Recognition Day, is a great time to change that, and once you do have a program up and running, you’ll quickly discover how valuable employee recognition can be all year long.