Employee Recognition; It Really Works!

How do most companies incentivize their employees? I know that some companies do it by simply ‘allowing’ their workers to stay there, have a job and cash a paycheck. That management by intimidation style never works or facilitates employee longevity.

Fortunately, that is not the norm with quality companies in our industry. Manufacturers, distributors and reps all know that the key to having a productive, happy and satisfied staff is by recognition of one form or another.

There are many types of appreciation that works. But the most powerful and by far the least expensive are simple, pure and honest thanks and praise. As long as appreciation is sincere, it will go a long way into keeping everyone motivated along with having a feeling of accomplishment. We have all worked (or are currently working) for people who just can’t seem to throw a compliment our way. No matter what we do, how well we do it or the positive outcome; which could have resulted in profitable orders, receivable days down, or an idea that actually saved money. Management and even fellow employees just don’t seem to understand the power of a little praise now and then.

Beyond the common sense approach above, there are other ways of recognition that involve economic motivation or something else that’s tangible.

There are now companies that have created employee incentive programs. Much like our NECA’s partnership with BlueVolt, an online learning and marketing platform in which students participate in vendor training programs. These students are motivated by their unique ‘Blue Bucks’ which are accumulated after completed training programs. They can then redeem their Bucks online for gift certificates from many well-known retailers.

One company out there has a similar program that is sold to all types of businesses and industries. In addition to gift certificates and gift cards, they have partnered with top companies to provide an incredible catalog of gift offerings. Some of the more extravagant include vacations, high-end electronics and, a personal favorite, a rental of a Ferrari for a day. Unless you already own one, a show of hands please of who would like to have that one? (If you would like more information on the company, please email me.)

According to Incentive Federation Inc., firms spend $26.88 billion annually on employee incentives. This is a staggering amount of money but it shows that companies recognize the value of engaged and happy team members.

According to Dr. Bob Nelson, a leader in the field of employee recognition, companies that have a ‘culture of recognition’, have employees that are five times more likely to feel valued, eleven times more likely to feel committed to their jobs and seven more times likely to stay with their company. He has also found that employees that are well-regarded and recognized properly consistently provide up to 57% greater effort in their jobs.

Employees: What would happen to your productivity if you were rewarded in some way, more than you are now? Would you agree with the paragraph above that you would ‘give more’ to your company? What do you think would happen if everyone (or most everyone) in your office/group/company suddenly decided to give another 57% more effort?

Employers: Changing around the questions above a little, what would happen to YOU or YOUR company if any of the above statements came true? Who wouldn’t want to invest a little time, and maybe some money if one could attain even close to those numbers?

Not only would efficiency go up but what about that other, generally unseen item: your perceived reputation in the marketplace? Don’t people want to work for companies that have a good reputation for acknowledging and appreciating their workers? We have all seen those stories every year about the ‘Best Places to Work’. Have you ever read those articles to peek inside a little and see what they are doing differently? Perhaps they aren’t investing large sums of money but maybe they are listening to their teams and taking action. It’s no wonder that their results are getting noticed.

Let’s take an example of a manager for a well-known distributor who simply didn’t know how to pay a compliment. After months of occasional smiles with no thanks, it took an employee to finally take a stand and bring it to his attention. Amazingly, the manager didn’t realize that he was doing anything wrong. He just ‘expected’ work to be done; and then you go home. Shortly thereafter, he was quick to start recognizing good work. Production increased and attitudes changed for the better. No gift cards, just pure, honest praise. It really worked.

As Dr. Nelson puts it so succinctly, “Recognize people for good work and they’ll be more likely to do more of it; others will notice and emulate that success.”

Admiration and commendations are always free. It shouldn’t take a line of credit to show gratitude and respect.

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