Summary: Praising employees regularly may be a practice that isn’t done enough, but is likely to have many benefits for the whole organization.
Key Take Aways:
- Employee recognition programs can engage workers more and reduce employee turnover.
- Recognizing employees doesn’t have to be expensive. Some simple actions are actually free or very affordable, and yet may yield significant benefits.
It isn’t surprising that organizations with employee recognition programs may reduce worker turnover and help keep their employees more engaged. A recent survey found when organizations spend one percent of payroll on employee recognition they have many more engaged workers. Additionally, they keep more workers from leaving the organization, which saves money.
Once effective workers are in the organization working, it not only costs money to replace them and train new people, it also can cost the entire organization due to the lost productivity and disruption. Depending on which employees leave and the circumstances of the exit, morale can also be lowered.
Recognizing employees in meetings large and small is free. It only requires small amounts of time and the willingness to give credit. Another way of recognizing employees without using the standard reward of money, is to give them more interesting and engaging work. They may be even more motivated and engaged which generally increases happiness and performance. (This idea could take the form of allowing them to initiate their own project.)
A guest article on the Harvard Business Review described a specific scenario involving an employee that was drinking and creating trouble in the workplace but couldn’t be fired, “So I met with Ivan early the following morning before he had drunk too much and could still function. I looked him straight in the eyes and said ‘Ivan, the company needs you for a complicated and important task that only you in this factory can perform successfully’ and proceeded to explain the work he would do with the Austrian technician and the bonus he would receive upon successful installation. He pondered for a second and said: “Will do”. His behavior from then on changed completely.”
While this example is probably not the usual case, it does illustrate the potential effect of recognizing employees for their strengths and supporting their engagement by giving them appropriate challenges.