Employee recognition is key to boosting performance

A new report from Achievers, the developer of employee rewards and recognition software, suggests employers that fail to recognize the achievements of their workers may hinder retention and engagement efforts that enable companies to be more successful.

The report, called “The State of Employee Recognition in 2012,” indicates that organizations with recognition programs that bolster employee engagement have a 31 percent lower voluntary turnover rate than companies without similar initiatives.

Nearly half of employees (46 percent) ranked “being valued and rewarded” as one of the top factors for choosing where to work. While many CEOs (57 percent) believe their companies do a good job of recognizing their workers, there appears to be a disconnect with most higher-ups – only 9 percent of employees actually feel they are recognized regularly.

“Our research shows that modern recognition programs can have a huge impact on organizational performance,” said Josh Bersin, chief executive officer and president at Bersin & Associates – the organization that conducted the survey. “In today's difficult economic times, business leaders should look to re-engineer these programs and integrate them directly with talent and performance management strategies.”

Getting on the same level as employees

Clearly, there is a perception gap between upper management and the people they manage. As evidenced by the report, most companies think they have effective engagement strategies, whereas the employees don't agree with this notion.

This could perhaps be because while companies have a program in place, it doesn't do an effective job of recognizing a variety of employees. For example, a “salesperson of the month” award might honor the top salesperson. However, if that same person is always at the top of the list, this can create a frustrating and even antagonistic workplace for others.

Companies should strive to recognize employees for their specific accomplishments. While “employee of the month” awards can be effective motivation, business owners should always look for other ways to highlight the effort of workers.

“So when it comes to recognizing people for accomplishments, whenever possible, try to go beyond a simple pat on the back,” the Gallup Business Journal adds. “Not only will this have more meaning for the recipient, but it also serves to reinforce the positive action you are rewarding.”