Share these best practices for employee recognition with your business owners

 

Employee recognition doesn’t only increase worker retention, but it can also help reduce workplace injury. And it’s just good business sense. Commercial producers, why not share these employee recognition ideas with your business owners?

First, a quick definition: Employee recognition is acknowledging a person's or team's efforts who went beyond the call of duty in their jobs, with results that uphold the company's values and goals. The recognition can be formal or informal, but should be expressed in a timely manner - as soon as possible.

 

Does employee recognition even matter?

No doubt a team won't jump ship next week just because they weren’t recognized - but over time, the lack of appreciation will erode a work relationship. Gallup Polls state, "The number one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don't feel appreciated."

Note these statistics as well:

  • Companies with strategic recognition programs report an 84 percent engagement level among workers, versus companies without them. (2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey) 
  • Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20 percent (Gallup)
  • Disengaged workers cost our economy $450-$550 billion every year. (The Engagement Institute)
  • Employees not adequately recognized at work are three times more likely to leave in the following year. (Gallup)


Need more convincing? Review these facts and figures. 

Customer satisfaction:

  • 41 percent of companies using peer-to-peer recognition see significant increases in customer satisfaction. (SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey)
  • A five percent increase in customer retention generates a 25-85 percent increase in profitability. (Harvard Business Review)


Increased productivity and performance:

  • Highly engaged employees are 38 percent more likely to have above-average productivity. (Workplace Survey - Gensler)
  • Companies with engaged employees outperform disengaged teams by 202 percent. (Business 2 Community)
  • 60 percent of "best in class" organizations report employee recognition is extremely valuable in driving individual performance. (Aberdeen Group, The Power of Employee Recognition)
  • Increasing investments in employee engagement by just 10 percent can increase profits by $2,400 per employee per year. (Workplace Research Foundation)


Less turnover:

  • Companies who implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9 percent lower than for employees who receive no feedback. (Gallup)
  • Companies scoring in the top 20 percent for building employee appreciation-rich cultures have a 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than every other enterprise. (Forbes)


Improved work culture:

  • Companies with strong engagement efforts report an average of 2.69 sick days taken annually per employee, compared to companies with weak engagement efforts, reporting an average of 6.19 sick days. (Workplace Survey - Gensler)
  • 70 percent of North American workers hold timely recognition to be "effective" or "very effective." (SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey)
  • Of the companies spending one percent or more of payroll on recognition, 85 percent see a positive impact on engagement. (SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey)

Convinced? Now let's review some top practices for launching and maintaining an employee appreciation program that you can share with your business owners.

 

Best practices for employee recognition 

  • Decide what you want to recognize and encourage: living your company values, saving the company money, creating a new innovation, hitting goals, referring new business or new employees? Then continually be on the lookout for these achievements.
  • Make your appreciation SPECIFIC (so that everyone knows exactly what it is you're recognizing), MEANINGFUL (since everyone's not motivated by the same things, let the employee choose their reward from several options) and TIMELY (as soon as possible after they meet the goal, do the action, etc.; don't wait a month before recognizing, because it will have lost its value by then).
  • Include peer-to-peer recognition. Colleagues are in the trenches with each other, and they're better able to pinpoint a team member's contribution.
  • Don't make it an established-in stone policy, such as "employee of the month," because that can be too vague and too much time can go by before the person is recognized. Instead, make it random: an immediate reaction to an action or behavior you see and want to reward. 
  • You don't always have to give money. Sometimes employees just want a handwritten note and direct praise in front of others for a job well done.  
  • Consider the "trophy value." Every time the employee uses, sees or interacts with the reward item, he or she associates it with the company and the positive behavior that earned the reward. The reward helps employees recognize that their employer truly values employees and acknowledges positive work habits.
  • Keep it going. Build rhythm around communicating the top employees recognized and those who are recognizing others most often. Recognize those who have provided value in your team meetings. 
  • Celebrate the team occasionally. Bring in breakfast or lunch for everyone, as a way of saying thanks to all. According to Gallup, 67 percent of full-time employees with access to free food at work are "extremely happy" or "very happy" in their job.



Written to encourage insurance agency owners, this original post appeared in 2016. It has since been updated and revised as a management tool that producers can provide to their business owner clients.