“Doing a good deed is like wetting your pants in a dark suit. It gives you a warm feeling, but nobody notices.”
I got that line from a Peanuts cartoon when I was 8 years old. I haven’t seen the cartoon since. But Charles Schultz, rest his soul, was on to something:Too many workers are working hard, and doing great jobs, with insufficient recognition for their efforts.The assertion was confirmed this month with the release of the Spring 2012 GloboForce Mood Tracker Report, which measures the rate at which workers feel adequately rewarded or recognized for their work.
The key findings:
• The overall recognition climate is improving overall: The percentage of employees recognized within the past three months increased from 44 percent in the fall of 2011.
• The percentage of employees that reported that being recognized for their accomplishments made them more satisfied with their work rose from 73 percent to 81 percent during the same period.
• The percentage of employees that reported being satisfied with their workplace recognition was 55 percent – an increase from 48 percent from fall of 2011.
• Still, over half of all workers surveyed – 55 percent, would quit and go to another job if they felt their efforts would be better recognized. Which tells me that 10 percent are lying about their satisfaction!Specifically, the Globoforce researchers found a significant positive correlation between the frequency and recency of employee recognition and general work satisfaction. The authors of the study concluded that poor recognition practices were a significant contributor to employee turnover. Which naturally increased recruiting costs, decreased employee efficiency and caused managers to spend too much time screening and training new workers, ultimately harming profitability.The difference is dramatic: Of those employees who reported not having been recognized in the last year, over half reported they were looking for a new job. Of the employees who did report being recognized for their accomplishments, only 23 percent reported they were looking for a new job.
Furthermore, of those employees who reported never having been recognized, 26 percent report that they “love their job.” For employees who report having been recognized in the last month, 76 percent report they love their job. That number increases steadily in direct correlation with the recency of their last recognition.
Low and No-Cost Recognition Ideas
“Soldiers will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
If you’re an employer, it needn’t cost you an arm and a leg to substantially improve your employee recognition practices. Cost for these gestures are minimal – yet can mean a lot for your best employees:
• A premium parking space for the employee of the month.
• Another name added to a large plaque
• A free movie pass to the top customer service representative.
• A half-day off with pay.
• Hand-written notes of appreciation to junior employees from top executives.
• Create permanent display of photos of workers who accomplished extraordinary things- and descriptions of what they did.
• Hold weekly meetings at the department level, specifically to recognize and praise top performers.
• A company hat, t-shirt, golf-shirt or other premium of nominal value.
• A promotion – even if it’s a job title, though the employee will expect more money to follow in short order.
• A better computer or chair
Employees shouldn’t be content with mere trinkets, however. If you are consistently adding significant value to the company’s bottom line, and you can readily quantify that, and it’s over and above the terms of your job description, it’s reasonable to expect some sort of tangible reward, too. A bonus, a promotion – anything. Maybe not every month, but enough to make you to want to keep performing!
If this is you, don’t be content with trinkets. You may be worth more to another employer who values your contributions with cash or other more tangible compensation. Recognition is important, but don’t allow yourself to be bought too cheaply. Update that resume – and never, ever stop building your Rolodex of contacts.