- Monday 08 October 2018
We all know that Employee Engagement can impact a lot on productivity and if you don’t spend enough time building a company culture in other words a company where your employees are fully engaged, it can lead to significant problems. In a recent survey it has been proven that “39% of workers would work harder if they are happy in their current role or place of work” (One4all).
Employee Engagement needs to be a priority to your business as much as your bottom line is. Of course, Employee Engagement consists of many aspects that we have developed in our article about The Challenge of Employee Engagement but there is one aspect that I’d like to emphasize in this article: Rewards and Recognition.
The latter is part of the main reasons an employee would leave a job: “Top reasons for leaving a job: insufficient pay (44%), limited career paths (43%), lack of challenging work (30%), work-life balance (28%), and lack of recognition (27%)” (Randstad) so it is worth giving it some thoughts.
To be an integral part of your Employee Engagement strategy, it is crucial to make all employees eligible to your rewards or recognition programme. No employee should be excluded from your rewards and recognition policy.
First, we need to make the difference between what rewards are and what recognition is.
Rewards include all financial rewards such as salary raises, bonuses, natural advantages (gift cards, or any other tangible reward which is given to a person in recognition of their performance.)
On one hand, rewards can have a positive impact on Employee Engagement:
- If the reward is solid, it will highly motivate the employees to achieve the target they are asked to achieve,
- If regular, attractive bonuses and rewards will build an appealing company culture and place the company as a great place to work,
- It will help to compensate lower rates of wages and increase job satisfaction.
But on the other hand, rewards have also their cons:
- It only brings a short-term motivation,
- It can lead to ongoing financial costs to produce regular reward opportunities,
- It can also create a culture of competition, rather than cohesion and collaboration which can have a negative impact on teamwork,
- Your employees are likely to neglect other important areas of performance to focus only on achieving tasks associated with rewards.
Rewards are generally seen as a reliable and effective way to engage and motivate your employee’s performance but as you can see, there are also cons worth taking into consideration.
While rewards will certainly provide short-term motivation, what you really want and need in your business is a solid and long-term engagement.
That is why Recognition is as much important. It involves “psychological rewards” which are earned by doing a job well. It would include verbal or written recognition such as positive feedback, more responsibilities or courses to develop their skills.
Like rewards, recognition has its pros and cons:
- There is no financial investment,
- It increases your employees’ confidence at work and care of their job,
- It builds a sense of purpose for employees, and they will recognise the relevance and importance of their role within the business,
- It improves teamwork and builds a greater company culture.
- After the recognition, your employees might take things easy thinking they don’t need to prove themselves anymore,
- If recognition is badly handled, employees who are not recognised enough can feel undervalued and will be less engaged,
However, these issues can easily be overcome. Constant recognition when a job is done well or support when the job needs to be improved will keep motivating employees as employees will need to feel that recognition from their employer needs to be justified on an ongoing basis.
On top of that, when rewards can be difficult to implement to all, recognition is something that can be easily given to any employee, even the ones not performing at the highest level.
Recognition will be your tool to engage and motivate employees who feel undervalued or overworked and who are ultimately less productive.
“Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They’re just more engaged at work.” - Tom Ruth
As a conclusion, I think the best way to start is to listen to your employees and learn about their concerns and wishes, provide them with the training they need and like and reward and recognise their work and engagement appropriately.