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Employee Engagement

Via WeWork : 8 best practices for your employee recognition program

Question: What’s your best advice for putting together a formal employee recognition program? Any tips on what to include (or what doesn’t work)?

Best Employee Recognition Programs

Work With Your Team to Define Rewards

“Every startup has its own culture. It’s worth learning how other businesses (startups, major brands, consulting companies or tech shops) recognize employees. But you should work with your team to develop your recognition programs. Make sure that the rewards excite your employees so that they will actually be effective.”

— AARON SCHWARTZ of Modify Watches

Be Creative

“A plaque for the employee of the month is old school. Be creative. Money doesn’t always do the trick. People like to be recognized in ways that affect their hearts. Thank their spouses or their children, award trophies for salesmanship, and offer handwritten thank-yous for exceptional work. Surprise them. Keep them guessing.”

— ZIVER BIRG of ZIVELO

Hire a Queen/King of Culture

“Employee recognition is on every company’s to-do list, but it often gets forgotten or deprioritized. Yodle hired a Queen of Culture whose #1 job is recognizing top performers and arranging prizes. A mistake to avoid is thinking that money will sustain performers. Group prizes encourage teammates to support one another. Make rewards unique – trophies, dinners and trips can go further than cash.”

— BEN RUBENSTEIN of Yodle

Ask Their Peers

“Crowdsource it. Usually recognition comes from management, but peers know what’s really going on. Let them be the ones to recognize achievement and reward it. ”

— BRENT BESHORE of adventur.es

Create Contests

“Keep the recognition frequent and consistent. Use the hourly, weekly, quarterly or annual benchmarks that drive your company forward to create contests with rewards for achieving those benchmarks. They don’t need to be monetary if you focus on the ceremony (e.g. an Employee of the Month Award where you place the winner’s photo on a placard on the wall).”

— NICK FRIEDMAN of College Hunks Hauling Junk

Cater for All Personality Types

“Recognition can be skewed toward the loudest and proudest extroverts. Implementing a system that allows peer review/praise and opportunity for the quiet achievers to be recognized is important. We implemented Small Improvements to make this happen.”

— ROBERT CASTANEDA of ServiceRocket

Praise Effort. Reward Results.

“When putting together a formal employee recognition program, it’s important to remember to praise effort and reward results. It’s crucial that the employee program encompasses each role and position within the organization. Start by determining what is most important in your company and choose the values that you will recognize. ”

— NICOLE SMARTT of Star Staffing

Don’t Overthink It

“We created a really awesome, but elaborate point system, only to discover that it was too much for people to keep track of and actually deterred them from doing their job. The system that’s used to track employees for recognition is far less important than just having something in place to recognize those who have done well. People love to be recognized in front of their peers.”

— ANDERSON SCHOENROCK of ScanDigital

Via Employee Benefits : 3 steps to building an employee recognition strategy

Developing a culture of recognition in which employees are genuinely acknowledged for their contributions, is more important than ever to maintain productivity, profitability, and retention of key employees. Employers can gain the edge over competition by establishing a culture of employee recognition that engages employees early on and throughout their careers.

In order to develop a culture of recognition, it’s important to establish a clear recognition strategy. The strategy must take into account – and be aligned with – the overall business strategy. What employee behaviours and contributions help the business succeed at its mission. Those are the things to proactively communicate and recognise.

Gaining the support and participation of business leaders and managers is also an important step in developing an employee recognition initiative. Some managers are more comfortable than others at giving recognition. The good news is that recognition is teachable, and anyone can improve.

Effective recognition strategies address all 3 tiers of recognition:

  1. Day-to-day recognition
  2. Informal recognition
  3. Formal recognition

Let’s look a little closer at what’s involved in each of the types of recognition.

Day-to-day recognition – is non-monetary and involves interpersonal interactions. These are the simple gestures: stopping by an employees’ desk to thank an employee for great work on a project, or sharing positive customer feedback with the people involved on the account. Maybe its texting or sending an e-card to an employee to say “Well done” or posting a couple of words of praise on your organisation’s online Recognition Wall. These seemingly small things add up to have a huge impact.

Informal recognition – has a casual level of structure and usually smaller award values. One example would be a peer-to-peer programme where co-workers are encouraged to nominate individuals that they feel are contributing at a high level. Multiple nominations may result in a more significant award. Points-based employee award programmes are also popular options. These programmes are natural fit for short-term performance goals.

Formal recognition – programmes are structured initiatives that provide awards for significant milestones or accomplishments. Formal recognition experiences are highlights in an employee’s career, and often they’re the foundation of the recognition strategy.

The best recognition strategies use a balanced approach of all three types: formal, informal, and day-to-day. Once the method for recognising each of the types is outlined, it’s important to implement an integrated platform (such as 360 Recognition) to manage all 3 elements. This will also help leaders see a clear picture of the overall recognition going on in the business and maintain consistency over time.

Via Impact : Employee Appreciation: Why It’s Important and How to Show It

When it comes to our personal or professional happiness, there are simple, universal elements that hold true — one of which is the fundamental need to feel appreciated and valued.

While the importance of feeling appreciated varies by individual, it is essential to fostering a positive relationship — be it the workplace or at home.

When someone feels appreciated and valued, it affirms the commitment they’ve made to a relationship or group and incentivizes them to continue contributing and excelling.

On the flip side, if appreciation is absent, an individual is less likely to feel connected or motivated to invest themselves in that relationship.

So what does this mean in the workplace?

As an employer or manager, hopefully, you’ve already recognized the need to acknowledge and thank your employees for their work.

If you haven’t, let me share a little story with you…

One of the best pieces of advice my father ever gave me pertains to this topic specifically.

As a manager, he prided himself on being clear with instructions, expectations, and direction to his staff, as well as providing them with feedback on performance.

During an annual review, one of his staff members asked if she could share a bit of feedback with him.

She applauded him for his meticulousness and capabilities as a manager, but then went on to say…“You always let me know when I’ve done a good job, but it would also be nice to hear ‘thank you.’”

My dad was shocked.

He assumed that positive feedback on a job well-done also implied that he was thankful for her work, but without stating it directly, this employee didn’t hear or feel his appreciation.

To her, this made all the difference.

So, my question to you as an employer or manager is, how effective and consistent are you in expressing appreciation to your team?

If you’re not sure or think you could be doing it better, I’m here to offer some inspiration!

In celebration of Employee Appreciation Day, let’s discuss the importance of recognizing and thanking employees for their contributions, how it can benefit your company culture, performance, and growth, and offer some ideas on how you can show appreciation to your staff each and every day of the year!

Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day — All Year-Round

There seems to be a day of the year for nearly everything — from National Donut and Wine Days, to Squirrel Appreciation and Play Your Ukulele Day.

And while many of these are fun reasons to post on Instagram, there’s one observance this month your company should consider acknowledging for a far more important reason.

Employee Appreciation Day is recognized in the United States and Canada on the first Friday of March.

While an unofficial holiday, this observance offers employers an opportunity to pause and recognize their incredible staff through acknowledgment and appreciation of their work.

When expressing appreciation to your team, your company may decide to go all-in and create a robust program that maintains throughout the year or keep it simple. From lunches and happy hours to kind notes or gift cards, there are a number of ways employers can recognize employees for their daily contributions.

Regardless of the commitment your company is willing and able to make, employee appreciation can go a long way. The cost doesn’t have to be substantial. In fact, many ways to show appreciation and recognition are free — they only cost time and effort to implement.

But before we get to the fun ideas, let’s first discuss why it’s so important and the benefits it can bring your organization, team and those you serve.

“Without our employees, we don’t have a business. They are the heart and soul of everything we do. Showing our appreciation helps remind them why they want to grow this company together. From kind words and recognition to gifts and awards, we do our best to consistently show our employees that we genuinely appreciate everything they do.” – Natalie Davis, VP of Talent at IMPACT

Why Does Employee Appreciation Matter?

It seems like a no-brainer, right? People respond well to feeling appreciated and valued. It is at the core of who we are as humans.

“The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.” – William James, American psychologist and philosopher (quote source: Little Things Matter)

This applies to our personal and professional lives.

Appreciation can be a BIG win for companies and leaders that embrace this philosophy in how they recognize employees from the top down, but also the culture they encourage to proliferate throughout the organization.

Employee Appreciation Creates a Stronger Company Culture

As I mentioned previously, expressing appreciation for those around you can positively impact interpersonal relationships, but also the larger team or group dynamic.

A company culture of kindness and appreciation can bring substantial benefits to your team and organization, and here’s why.

It increases individual employee happiness and morale.

At an individual level, when employees feel valued and recognized for their contributions it impacts their connectivity to the organization, team, and the work they do.

“IMPACT’s culture is all about calling people out publicly for the great work they do. Sure, you might hear a ‘thanks’ directly from someone you were collaborating with, but with 7Geese and Slack, it almost feels as if we throw a company-wide parade for each person who is acknowledged for their great work. I love that our culture promotes both sides of that appreciation coin: not just performing at a high level and helping out your team, but also taking the time to call out and acknowledge others who are doing so.

It really does a lot for morale when you notice that people all over the company are doing awesome things to go the extra mile to help each other out—it makes me want to jump in and do the same.” – Jolie Higazi, Account Executive at IMPACT

It encourages appreciation across the organization.

Setting this example with your staff will, in turn, impact the larger company culture and how they recognize and show appreciation for each other.

As this spreads across the management level, it will trickle down into peer-to-peer interactions and create a culture of appreciation throughout the organization and teams.

It ultimately leads to a positive work environment.

When felt across the company, appreciation and recognition will lead to a more positive environment and dialogue. A company rooted in thankfulness and appreciation breeds pure and simple happiness.

“I am very impressed with the appreciation shown between colleagues on 7Geese. I love reading them and am always encouraged by how everyone supports each other.” – Christi Wharton, Account Executive at IMPACT

Employee Appreciation Increases Engagement + Loyalty

Studies have shown that when you have a strong company culture and happy employees, they are less likely to leave and more inclined to become incredible advocates.

It Increases employee engagement.

Recognition programs have proven to increase employee engagement, establishing better connectivity or rapport between the employee and organization. Why? Because these additional communications and activities create new, positive and unique touch points beyond the normal day-to-day interactions.

So why should organizations strive to have highly engaged employees? Well, according to a Gallup study, business units with engaged employees were 17% more productive and 21% more profitable than those with disengaged employees.

It decreases talent turnover.

According to the infographic by Work.com, “54% of employees would quit working at a company where they didn’t feel appreciated.”

Employees who don’t feel like they’re recognized for their work are twice as likely to say they will quit their jobs in the next year, according to Gallup.

It creates company and brand advocates.

A happy employee will share their experiences with others. This will help you attract the right kind of talent to your organization.

“Whenever someone asks me if I think they should take a new job I always tell them to reach out to current employees and ask them what it’s like to work there. Potential new hires will always look beyond the interview process and into the heart of the company. The best part about truly happy employees is they will advocate for your organization. They’ll not only have great things to say – they’ll share photos of team outings, company events, and new branded swag. This helps makes new hires more confident in accepting a job at your company and encourages people who haven’t applied to consider working there.” – Stephanie Baiocchi, Director of Audience Engagement & Community at IMPACT

Employee Appreciation Improves Performance

So we’ve talked about how infusing employee appreciation into your organization can improve company culture, employee engagement, and retention, but (like a cheesy infomercial) —that’s not all!

via GIPHY

It turns out that employee appreciation is actually good for business.

An infographic published by Work.com indicated that “69% of employees would work harder if they were better recognized,” and “78% of U.S. workers said being recognized motivates them in their job.”

“My favorite thing we do here at IMPACT is the peer-to-peer recognition through 7Geese. This tells the whole company when you provide positive feedback about someone. The joy of getting one and sending one out is what makes me strive to do excellent work.” – David Little, Strategist at IMPACT

It impacts business results and growth.

According to an article from Cutting Edge, “The Walt Disney World Resort established an employee recognition program that resulted in a 15% increase in staff satisfaction with their day-to-day recognition by their immediate supervisors. These results correlated highly with high guest-satisfaction scores, which showed a strong intent to return, and therefore directly flowed to increased profitability.”

This example showcases the potential employee appreciation has to not only impact your internal staff and work environment, but also extend beyond your four walls to those you serve. With a happy, productive and high-performing staff, you can expect that enthusiasm and performance be brought forward in value and delight to your clients or customers.

Awesome Examples of How to Show Employee Appreciation

By now, you’re bought into the benefits of employee appreciation and how it will improve your company overall — but what’s the next step?

How do you create an effective employee appreciation program, or even simply get started with something small?

Here are some ideas for inspiration:

  • Public recognition: This can be as simple as telling someone how much you appreciate them and the work they’ve done. While it can be effective in a one-on-one setting, public recognition at a company meeting or through an internal meeting or social network, like 7Geese, uplifts the individual in front of the entire team, sets a great example, and increases transparency into individual wins and expressed gratitude.
  • Company events: For the broader team, consider hosting a special lunch, happy hour, team-building activity or outing. This will benefit the entire group and help encourage additional camaraderie.
  • Gift cards: Identify milestones, wins, or other instances when you can recognize an employee or the group for their work with a small treat to their favorite coffee shop or store. If it’s more than a handful of employees, consider going through a bulk gift card service, like Amazon.
  • Support their personal charities/causes: Share in your employees’ passion by contributing to a charity, cause or nonprofit they actively support. This could be a monetary donation or attendance at a fundraising event. You can also encourage other team members to join you in support of their teammate.
  • Time off: While a larger soft cost to the company (in terms of man hours), dedicating a half or full day to employee appreciation will give your team a chance to reset and relax. Think about the impact this could have on productivity with a team that is fully rested, refreshed and ready to tackle a new day!
  • Gamification: Enable employees to earn points and rewards through a gamification system that centers on appreciation and recognition. This offers a personalized approach to appreciation, letting them select an option that will mean most to them.

No matter how your company decides to approach employee appreciation and recognition, make sure it’s authentic and aligned with your organization, values and culture. The investment, be it large or small, can make all the difference to your staff, those you serve and the potential you can reach as a team.

Happy Employee Appreciation Day – today, and every day of the year!

Via Kazoo HR : 26 Staff Appreciation Ideas and Recognition Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

As any successful business owner will tell you, employees are the lifeblood of a company.

When they’re disgruntled or apathetic, they clog the arteries of your operations. But keep your employees happy and engaged, and they’ll help your business flow smoothly. The good news: The heart of employee engagement is easy and inexpensive to roll out, yet impacts revenue, retention, and absenteeism in droves.

Ready for it? It’s simple appreciation.

Engaged, appreciated employees bring productivity to day-to-day operations and are more likely to stay with you longer and show up with their mind ready to work. Yet most office environments inspire more apathy than engagement. A high-stress environment, lack of regular feedback, and generally feeling purposeless can lead to employee burnout. Most engagement programs miss the mark because they aren’t targeting the things employees care most about.

In this case, recognition for their hard work.

So, to help you get the ball rolling as you reimagine your employee engagement strategy, we’ve put together a list of 26 staff appreciation ideas that you can put in place for almost no cost (or if you’re ready, see how Kazoo can help you have best-in-class staff appreciation every day.)

Staff Appreciation Ideas

Here are 26 staff appreciation and employee recognition ideas that you can roll out with very little cost.

1. Time to Brag. Arrange for a team to show their work to upper management (or even the whole company!) Employees feel more engaged when they feel that their ideas and efforts are having an impact.

2. Employees’ Choice. Let your employees create their own awards program and vote on the winners. Create a “hardest working” award. Or best mentor. Just keep it from being a popularity contest –write out and publicly explain exactly what a certain employee did to get the award.

3. Use a Staff Appreciation Program.
Like a frequent flier program, Staff Appreciation Programs can award points for teamwork, showing company values, or any other behavior that you think is important. Employees can turn in points for experiences, time off (like leaving a half hour early one day) or even a small gift care. Putting that kind of program in place can energize your whole office.

4. Let Your Employees Pay It Forward. Sometimes employees get more out of giving budget-conscious appreciation than out of getting it. Direct some of your staff appreciation budget to small peer-to-peer recognition awards to get the most bang for your buck.

5. Surprise Appreciation Celebrations. With something as simple as a batch of chocolate chip cookies, spontaneous Nerf gun battle, or some great music blasting through the office, the employees you recognize will jump for joy (at least internally!) that their work was noticed and appreciated.

6. Reward the Whole Team. Studies show that rewarding an entire team builds everyone’s performance. So even if you have a top performer, make sure your staff appreciation is tied to the team’s goals.

7. Make it About More Than Work. Publicly acknowledge employees’ personal accomplishments. Did Cara’s organic garden get a bumper year? Did Emily have a personal best in the half-marathon? Or did Tim win a dance contest? Even if it’s just pointing them out in a staff meeting, your employees will appreciate your recognition of their personal accomplishments.

8. Gossip Can be Good. We don’t want employees dishing dirt on each other – but encourage positive gossip. If you catch a positive remark about a coworker, tell them as soon as possible. It can be a text or email if it isn’t live. And make it public — copying their manager or teammates gives the comment much more impact.

9. Spread the Success. Ask successful teams and employees to be “office consultants” – sharing their skills and knowledge with others.

10. Publish the Praise. Think about putting an employee highlights column on your company intranet or employee newsletter. Ask employees to submit examples for their peers.

11. Choose Your Own Assignment. If you can allow employees to choose their work, they will be more engaged and dedicated. (Everyone loves to have choices, right?)

12. Thank You Calls. Ask supervisors to bring employees into their office for a thank you. Most employees hear from their supervisors when something’s wrong. So, they will be especially pleased to receive honest, positive feedback.

13. Suggestion Box on Steroids. That good old’ suggestion box? It’s a great start – but you can take it further with company-wide surveys. Employees want to have impact. So, show them that their opinions and ideas are taken seriously – and you’ll see a boost in engagement.

14. Invest in Employees’ Professional Development. Even if you can’t pay for classes – you can still support your employees’ professional development. Free online courses, mentorship from executives, and giving them the chance to lead an office initiative all encourage their growth. Your employees will appreciate your interest and guidance.

15. Celebration Calendar. Posted on the wall or sent out online, it pays to mark important dates. Celebrate employees’ birthdays and employment anniversaries.

16. Make Lunch Count. Give employees an extra-long lunch break on occasion. Or other time off to manage their personal lives.

17. Show Your Employees They Matter. Take time to get to know all the employees in your organization. Listen actively and carefully to their thoughts. Use their first name. Even non-verbal recognition– like an honest smile or a handshake – can show employees they matter.

18. Build Connections Between Staff and Upper Management.
With or without day-to-day interaction, employees like to feel that they know upper management. Think about using a new employee lunch with the CEO to build connections across your organization’s hierarchy.

19. Recognize Long Hours. Think about sending a note to your employees’ home addresses to show them that you understand how much home-time the employee sacrificed to complete a critical project.

20. Meeting Madness. Even though we all spend a lot of time in meetings – make it a little more fun. Ask an employee to join a “special meeting” outside their group.

21. Use Thoughtful Praise. For employee recognition – the thought often counts more than the money. If an employee loves hiking, for example, maybe you’ll write your thanks on a guide to local trails. Or you can Photoshop a million-dollar bill with the employee’s face on it, as a way of saying, “Thanks a Million.”

22. Put Yourself Out There. While it may be easy to hand off recognition of birthdays or workplace anniversaries to an assistant, generic recognition can fall flat. Even if you automate and standardize employee recognition of key events, make sure that recognition has a personal touch.

23. Let Your Employees Take the Lead. When you’re planning on retreats, meetings, and other “fun” time, get your employees’ ideas. Including employees in planning company events can feel like a reward in and of itself (plus – they’ll look forward more to the next one!) It doesn’t have to be complex. You can go the full yard by collecting feedback from every employee, or just ask a dedicated employee to volunteer to help plan an event.

24. Make It Formal: Write a Letter. Here’s a simple, free, influential method for recognizing your employees: personal letters. Write a letter explaining in detail why a particular employee deserves praise. Deliver a copy to the employee and their manager(s). Place a copy of the letter in the employee’s file.

25. Don’t Just Recognize the Exception.
Often, employees get recognized for that one time they go above and beyond. But what about the employees who consistently do their job well? Encourage consistency by recognizing employees for the day-to-day challenge of doing their job well—after all, it’s not easy to find good employees. See our managers’ guide to giving effective feedback for tips.

And a bonus: #26. The Bulletin Board. Employees may want to connect outside work, too. They should have a place to recruit for their ultimate Frisbee team, advertise their dog sitting service, or let people know they have a room for rent. Setting up a place for them to connect outside work shows that you care about more than just their on-the-job selves.

Meaningful appreciation doesn’t have to be expensive. Using these tips you can make staff appreciation a regular part of your workday.

Via HR Technologist : How Technology is Changing Engagement at Work

Organizations today understand the true importance of employee engagement. Increasingly, this is becoming a vital cog in any employee satisfaction and retention strategy. We discuss five ways in which technology can help in improving employee engagement.

Why Engagement Matters

There’s no denying the fact: employee engagement is a serious game-changer for businesses, regardless of size or scale. In a highly complex market, fraught with rising attrition rates, retaining employees is critical. Add to that a young, vibrant millennial workforce who are hungry for various facilities, benefits, and means of engagement, above and beyond only compensation. This is why improving employee engagement is integral to a company’s culture, as well as its long-term profitability.

In its simplest form, high engagement means your workforce is inspired to perform assigned tasks to the best of their ability, are constantly motivated and enthused and feel a sense of ownership/accountability for the project.

Now, improving employee engagement is a complex terrain. Given its apparent intangible state, companies often flounder when it comes to defining concrete strategies. This is where technology can help – by offering pragmatic add-ons, real-time solutions, and carefully planned engagement methodologies, HR teams can make a genuine difference. Let’s look at five ways in which technology can breathe new life into your employee engagement gameplan.

5 Ways Technology Can Help in Improving Employee Engagement

Collaboration is key

Research reveals that when employees are allowed to freely collaborate and work in coordination with each other, there is a significant uptick in productivity. In fact, flexibility and virtual work in today’s time is a must-have for any organization.

There are a plethora of collaboration and flexibility tools (from intranets to the highly popular Slack and Slack alternatives) which can help employers give their workforce the opportunity to talk to each other, share ideas, and collaborate more closely than ever before – no matter where they are located. “A modern digital workplace solution can be customized to accurately reflect an organization’s workforce and its changing work experience. It can integrate all of the technologies that employees leverage to support cross-platform collaboration,” said Will Saville who is Co-Founder of intranet provider, Unily.

Gamification makes training fun and meaningful

When it comes to training, often employees find monotonous workflows and practices exhausting, choosing to stay away from learning paths that could otherwise be extremely helpful. Gamification, with its focus on interactivity, a sense of ease, and an innovative way of sharing learning and development, can both transform training sessions as well as improve employee engagement.

It’s okay to allow personal tools – as long as compliance is maintained

This is the smartphone generation. At home and at work, employees are constantly logged into multiple devices, from smartphones to laptops and desktops. This is why letting employees work, collaborate, and communicate across multiple devices, is always a smart move. All that a company needs to do, is ensure that employees adhere to a stringent level of compliance and are made to understand the importance of security and the threat of cybercrimes.

Recognition and acknowledgment are welcome, any day and every day

“A great way to encourage employee engagement and motivating employees to do better and improve is to recognize and reward their efforts and their work in the company,” said Myron Monet, Marketing Manager for technical talent provider, Mobilunity. Beyond the annual review, appraisals, or quarterly sitdowns, peer recognition and ‘spot’ recognition are extremely important for boosting morale and building motivation. This will help in improving employee engagement, even as employers instill a sense of ownership and positivity among team members.

Again, there are several tools out there which can help regularize recognition and offer new and innovative ways to reward exceptional performance from an employee.

Let employees gather new ideas on the go

Today, mobile learning is an accepted form of intelligent delivery in the L&D function. Given how employees spend a major chunk of their time on their smartphones, rich and bite-sized content is always a better alternative, instead of text-heavy and complex materials. What’s more, with new technologies like microlearning, MOOC, and data analytics, employees can actually be empowered to pick up relevant skillsets, improving employee engagement. By gathering advanced learning insights through data analytics, L&D teams can finetune modules as per individual needs. Needless to say, all of this goes a long way in strengthening and improving employee engagement.

In Conclusion

These are the five most popular ways in which technology can help in improving employee engagement. At its very core, engagement should give your workers a sense of freedom – freedom from being chained to a desk, greater flexibility, and the ability to unflinchingly share the most disruptive ideas and maximize their potential.

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