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Modernizing Employee Anniversary Recognition

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Over the past few decades, employee anniversary recognition programs have become popular in the corporate environment. Companies recognize their benefits, and now employee recognition is now an integral element in today’s workplace.

In fairness, while you may have a recognition and rewards program, it’s likely not enough to deliver outstanding results. Traditional employee recognition programs take a top-down approach, with one annual event taking center stage. Due to employees’ increasing expectations of companies, such strategies no longer suffice. This is why it’s essential that you transition to a modern employee recognition program.

Beyond reducing employee turnover, you’ll enjoy benefits such as:

  • An increase in individual and team productivity
  • An increase in employee morale
  • An increase in a the sense of pride and camaraderie within the team
  • An increase in trust between management and employees

For your recognition to yield such results, it needs to be strategic and in touch with the needs of today’s employees. Read on to learn how to set up a comprehensive and effective recognition and rewards system.

Relationship between Employee Anniversary Recognition and Engagement

Employee recognition programs are a way of acknowledging and rewarding personnel for their efforts, performance, and talents. In doing so, you’re able to inspire them and their colleagues to continue improving their performance.

With a great program, you can achieve this and more, such as improving the working environment in general. However, all these elements rely on one key factor: engagement. Engagement influences how employees perceive the company and their job. It also influences how they relate to each other. Ultimately, it determines how the company performs.

If you are trying to modernize your employee recognition solution, begin by defining your engagement priorities, including:

  • Attracting top talent
  • Retaining top talent
  • Enhancing employee morale and well-being
  • Enabling employees to create stronger and more authentic connections
  • Improving productivity

For any organization pursuing growth, all these should be high-priority goals. Thankfully, a modern employee recognition system can help you achieve all of them.

Use Recognition to Help Individuals and Teams Connect

At the heart of your organization are the employees. They are the ones who facilitate the production of market products and services. They are the ones who interact with customers. For the organization to operate efficiently and effectively at all levels, the employees need to be in a healthy frame of mind.

As part of our innate human nature, employees crave meaningful social interactions. If they come to work, sit at their desks all day and interact with colleagues only when required, they’ll become lonely and miserable. This will then lower their engagement and productivity.

One of the ways you can easily address this is by helping them form meaningful connections through recognition programs. Here’s how to go about it:

1: Incorporate Peer-to-Peer Recognition Programs

Top-down recognition is the most common form of employee recognition. It’s where management and leadership teams solely carry the responsibility of recognizing employees. Sadly, this method has significant limitations, reducing its effectiveness. Such limitations include:

  • Management teams are not always ideally positioned to identify efforts
  • It alienates employees from the recognition process
  • Recognition is focused on key projects
  • Rewarding is often limited to one annual event

But what if you could involve employees in the recognition process and make it continuous? This would make recognition and rewards more meaningful to recipients because it would highlight how much their colleagues respect and appreciate their contributions. In turn, this would help improve connections.

Well, all this is possible if you institute a peer-to-peer recognition program. Online platforms can offer this service and allow for very effective management of this kind of program. For example, each time an employee notices a colleague’s efforts are worth appreciating, they can recognize them via a special platform. With each mention, employees earn points that earn them rewards.

The good thing about this system is that it’s often public. Since everyone can see what is being posted, there is more transparency.

2: Increase the Channels for Recognition

A recognition program has one primary purpose: to ensure employees’ efforts are recognized. This does not have to be only for major milestones such as landing that big client. It should also be about celebrating the small wins and efforts that spur the team forward.

For this to be effective, efforts should go beyond the employee anniversary recognition event. Consider setting up multiple channels dedicated to appreciating work wins. Great options include community channels on Microsoft Teams or Slack, etc.

The goal of such community platforms is to complement your formal recognition program. They’ll give teams opportunities to connect in meaningful ways each day. At the same time, it’ll help build and support the culture of recognition within the company. To make it more engaging, include custom graphics that represent unique company values that they can use.

3: Embed Recognition into Company Culture and Values

Peer-to-peer recognition has some unique advantages for employees; however, it is also more challenging to execute effectively. This is because it calls for the goodwill of employees toward the company and, more importantly, toward each other.

In the absence of such goodwill, the level of recognition will be low. While this is not ideal, it also lets you know that you have a disjointed workforce. Once you address the underlying issues, work towards integrating recognition into company culture and values.

The goal is to get employees to a level where they’re comfortable and willing to congratulate and appreciate each other’s efforts. This will break down team and structural barriers, thus increasing the sense of belonging. Ultimately, they’ll do this instinctively, thus embedding recognition into the company culture.

Use Recognition as a Tool to Increase Employee Retention

As the level of competition in the business landscape increases, any competitive edge you can gain will be invaluable. In this regard, there’s one area you cannot afford to lose out on: top talent. As the war for talent rages on, you need to accelerate and amplify your efforts to attract and retain great employees.

For such strategies to yield desirable results, you need to avoid the primary mistake organizations make, emphasizing only remuneration, bonuses, and other perks. While these things may be appealing, they’re not enough to retain top talent.

Beyond earnings, employees today place great importance on the work environment. They want to be in a company where there’s a sense of community, and where there are opportunities to learn and grow.

A crucial part of increasing engagement and retention is recognition. Some of the steps you should take to ensure that your employee recognition system boosts retention include:

1: Personalize Recognition to Create Authentic Moments

Each year, organizations hold an employee anniversary recognition event. And each year, employees know what to expect as rewards. If the second statement is true for your organization, then your recognition efforts need a major upgrade.

One way to increase employee involvement in the recognition process is to make rewards desirable. More importantly, ensure that they are personalized. Take the time to determine the best ways to reward individuals. Delve into their interests, hobbies, and needs.

Suppose one of your employees who is up for a reward loves basketball. You can gift them with a travel package that involves tickets to an NBA game. If it’s someone who is about to be a parent, the gift can be something baby-related, such as a stroller.

The goal is to give gifts that will have great sentimental value. Even if it’s not expensive, they’ll appreciate it much more. In turn, this will increase their loyalty to the organization, thus increasing your chances of retaining them.

2: Empower Managers to Spot Key Moments

When it comes to employee retention, managers have a key role to play. According to gallup report data, among every two employees, one has left a job for the sole reason of getting away from a manager. Due to structural barriers, managers and employees are somewhat segregated.

As a result, interactions are limited, and communication is one-directional. In such a setup, it’s hard for managers to develop the meaningful connections with employees necessary to retain them. While many companies have recognition programs, they do not have guidelines to address this challenge.

This is where modernizing employee recognition programs come into play. It helps break the structural barriers, allowing management personnel and employees to interact in more meaningful ways.

However, to make it even more effective, it can be taken a step further. Managers can be trained to identify key recognition opportunities. The more frequently and effectively they can appreciate employee efforts, the better their relationships will be. This will also allow managers to better address the employee pain points that may ultimately lead to turnover.

In addition to these efforts, managers can build a connection between employees and the company’s objectives. In so doing, they’ll instill and continually reinforce a sense of purpose in individuals and teams.

Go the Extra Mile to Ensure Rewards Enhance Well-being and Morale

Part of creating a healthy and positive working environment is ensuring employees are happy. This means taking the initiative to safeguard and enhance their well-being beyond the office.

Thankfully, with a robust recognition program, you already have one of the most powerful tools for enhancing well-being and morale.

1: Cover all Forms of Well-being

Beyond workplace productivity, well-being is essential for basic human functioning. It touches on physical, mental, and emotional health. As you structure various recognitions, such as your employee anniversary recognition, ensure that they cover all aspects of well-being.

You can organize monthly skits or creative pottery classes to stimulate mental well-being. For physical well-being, rewards can entail activities such as surfing and aerobics classes. Since emotional well-being is more to do with connection, ensure the activities you choose involve bonding.

As employee well-being improves, there’ll also be an improvement in morale, leading to increased productivity.

2: Give Employees a Choice

A key part of a modern employee recognition program is choice. Traditionally, employee anniversary recognition involves pre-determined gifts. In essence, the employees take what they’re given, even if it does not necessarily value them personally.

Instead of this uninspiring gifting method, give your employees a choice. This is especially so when it comes to rewards aimed at well-being. For some people, the ideal way to unwind is exercising. For others, it may be relaxing with family. Limiting them to one gift may not benefit their well-being as desired.

3: Modernize the Rewards Platform to Cater to a Contemporary Workforce

One of the primary factors propelling companies toward modernized recognition programs is the evolving workforce. With millennials constituting the largest proportion of the current workforce, your rewards program should put some emphasis on what appeals to them.

An effective reward program involves:

  • Specially curated reward catalogs
  • Locally sourced products
  • Redemption options such as e-vouchers, charities, and donations
  • Special care packages

To truly accommodate the needs of the modern workforce, there needs to be a shift in how recognition and rewards activities are viewed. Management teams need to ensure that it is progressive and adaptable. This will ensure that you set the tone for an enhanced employee experience and deliver it.

Get Rewarded by Rewarding: Modernize Your Program Today

Modernizing your recognition and rewards program is a powerful tool for getting your workforce functioning at an optimal level. It can give them a sense of community, boost their morale, and instill a greater sense of purpose. As such, your efforts need to be highly strategic and deliberate.

Rewards do not have to be expensive or grandiose. Even small and meaningful gifts will have a huge impact. That being said, there’s one final key step you should take to get the most out of your recognition and rewards efforts: choose the right partner.

Xceleration is a company that helps organizations capitalize on the benefits of modernized employee anniversary recognition, and much more. Reach out to us today to learn how you can reinforce positive and inspiring company culture and increase engagement and retention using our platform.

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