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The Science of Employee Recognition

Employee recognition programs have certainly become a bit more popular in the past few years, but too many firms are flippantly deploying the relevant investments rather than taking long, targeted looks at the ways in which they should be formulated.

Employee recognition programs have certainly become a bit more popular in the past few years, but too many firms are flippantly deploying the relevant investments rather than taking long, targeted looks at the ways in which they should be formulated. When firms do not keep a close eye on how their employees will react to certain types of recognition and rewards programs, the next step is often toward poor engagement and morale. 

The whole point of investing in employee engagement is to get productivity, efficiency and retention to levels that are more conducive to profit improvements, and not having a certain level of fluency in these matters can result in disastrous consequences. This is why many businesses will benefit from the use of a professional services provider, rather than launching a plan and simply hoping that it will come back with optimal returns on investment. 

Now, thanks to the growing popularity of recognition and rewards programs, there is a wealth of research out there that not only shows how financially advantageous these deployments can be, but also the best practices of management and optimization. When a company's decision-makers are up to speed on all of these matters, the chances of hitting a home run on the first try will generally rise in dramatic fashion. 

In the past, corporate executives would often balk at the prospect of these types of investments simply because there was no concrete evidence that the deployments would yield hard financial benefits, but this is no longer the case. Rather, managers who want to get these programs into place have a full arsenal of evidence that connects sound recognition and rewards programs to significant operational and financial improvements. 

Getting deep with recognition
HR.BLR.com recently reported that the American Psychological Association's Center for Operational Excellence conducted a study to create a clear connection between recognition programs and improved corporate performances, while the results were positive. As a note, some of the common findings of other studies, such as the fact that a majority of employees are not yet enjoying the benefits of a recognition program, remained true in this study. 

For example, the source pointed out that 49 percent of workers do not really feel as though they are a valuable member of their company, while 53 percent of the programs in place are not being viewed as fair and balanced among participating staff members. Keep in mind that unfair or inconsistent delivery of recognition can present major problems to any business, as employees will be more likely to become disengaged as a result. 

According to the news provider, 81 percent of employees who responded to the APA's survey did say that their employers had put forth some type of recognition program, but only half are seeing these come through in individual-based processes, meaning team or department-focused efforts are more popular.

"Today, business success depends on sustainable workplace practices and a healthy, high-performing workforce," Norman Anderson, PhD, the APA's chief executive officer, affirmed, as cited by HR.BLR.com. "Part of promoting employee well-being is demonstrating how their efforts contribute to the organization's success and recognizing them for their good work."

The important takeaway from the survey was that well-managed programs translate directly to enhanced morale, engagement, performance and more among employees, and that workforce members offered these opportunities tend to be more motivated in their positions, the news provider noted. 

"When an organization makes people feel valued and appreciated, that not only creates a better work environment, it also affects whether employees want to stick around and help the company achieve its goals," David W. Ballard, PsyD, the APA's assistant executive director for organizational excellence, added, according to the source.

Still not sold?
Disengaged employees can cost companies a wealth of money each year, especially as churn will tend to be higher in these environments, productivity will not be quite as consistent and general brand images can be challenged when workforce members are not satisfied. Virtually every organization in each industry around the globe can enjoy significant improvements to profit margins, both directly and indirectly, when leveraging an effective and well-managed employee recognition and rewards program. 

More challenges in workforce management are expected to sprout up in the near future, such as a talent gap that will prevent businesses from staffing the positions they need the most in a variety of areas, and retaining long-term employees is one of the best ways to sidestep these issues. By being more proactive and robust in these deployments, the chances of attracting and retaining talent will tend to go up organically. 

The trick is to make sure the recognition program is crafted properly, and this can be attained with the help of a professional service provider. 

Ever wonder what the facts of recognition entail? Click here to download our white paper.

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