Let’s face it: Everyone deserves some love for a job well done. After pulling an eighty-hour week and crushing that big presentation, you’ve earned more than a little praise. Unfortunately, studies show that employers simply aren’t good enough at recognizing and rewarding hard work. According to a Gallup analysis, just one in three American workers strongly agree that they receive recognition or praise for doing good work on a regular basis. “At any given company, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored,” the study found. “Further, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.”
Employee recognition is perhaps the most critical component when it comes to retaining top talent, and it’s no surprise that many of the country’s most successful organizations employ robust recognition programs designed to enrich company culture, reduce turnover, and provide a fulfilling employee experience. Here are four ways that employee reward and recognition programs transform organizations for the better.
Employees who get up each morning looking forward to work—that’s the goal of every company, no matter how small or large. You can control so many aspects of the workplace, but you can’t control how happy your employees are. There is an obvious link between employee engagement and productivity: Disengaged employees show up to work but are not motivated to do more than their job description. Without any sense of investment or pride in their work, workers are going to be disinterested, and therefore less productive. Indeed, after studying data from 1.4 million employees, Gallup found that organizations with a high level of engagement report 22 percent higher productivity.
Think about the traditional forms of workplace recognition. A pen after three years on the job. A gift card after five. An occasional “job well done” by the boss after a successful presentation. Should disengaged employees be blamed for poor productivity when their employer is just as disengaged when it comes to recognizing their achievements? In fact, 85 percent of companies that spend just 1 percent or more of their payroll on employee recognition programs see a positive impact on engagement levels. Companies with robust programs, such as Woliba’s, see engagement jump by as much as 60 percent.
According to McKinsey & Co., companies that value recognition are 12 times more likely to see strong business results. That’s why Woliba offers such a varied menu of recognition features, from automated push notifications to daily tips and quotes to gamification and social features to customizable monthly themes and events. With Woliba, managers can provide fun and simple avenues to recognize and reward good work while allowing employees to be recognized by their peers. Whether it’s sending kudos to colleagues, highlighting top performers by location and department with a company-wide points leaderboard, or allowing employees to earn points across engagement programs with automated redemptions, there are no shortage of ways to go the extra mile for workers who go the extra mile for you.
What is the single biggest reason why Americans quit their job, according to Gallup? Lack of appreciation. Hiring and training talent is expensive and exhausting—and yet, so much of it can be avoided by simply taking time to recognize the hard work of existing employees. On average, companies that have strong recognition programs enjoyed a 23.4 percent drop in employee turnover compared to companies with no such programs.
In a SHRM/Globoforce survey, 68 percent of HR professionals agreed that employee recognition has a positive impact on retention and 56 percent said such programs also help with recruitment. Employee recognition programs were rated higher by HR when they were aligned with organizational values and talent strategy. Increased salaries and bonuses were also important, of course, but there was more of a positive impact on employee recognition program ratings when recognition was core to the organization’s talent strategy. And according to Harvard Business Review, traditionally high-turnover organizations with the most robust employee engagement programs report 25 percent lower turnover, while organizations with traditionally low turnover offering similar programs report 65 percent lower turnover.
The data are clear that employee engagement has an inverse relationship with turnover. Organizations who use Woliba on average see an 80 percent employee enrollment with 50 percent monthly utilization. Our recognition add-on includes real-time reporting on company analytics and peer acknowledgement broken down by departments and locations. Our software allows recognition at the most granular levels, ensuring seemingly trivial events like birthdays and work anniversaries are never ignored, which enhances morale and fosters a positive workplace culture.
Happy employees make their company more money. But don’t take it from us. “Highly engaged organizations have double the rate of success of lower engaged organizations,” says Harvard Business Review. Meanwhile, Gallup found that highly engaged teams show 21 percent greater profitability. The statistics show that organizations cannot afford to ignore employee engagement programs, with an exhaustive report by The Engagement Institute finding that disengaged employees cost US companies up to $550 billion every single year.
The hard truth is that today’s employees demand more from work than paychecks. They are in search of careers that provide purpose and meaningful connections that lead to long-term loyalty. That’s why the ROI for employee engagement programs is through the roof. Willis Towers Watson, for instance, reports that companies with high and sustainable levels of engagement have operating margins up to three times higher than companies with low or unsustainable levels of engagement.
It does not take a full-time division to maintain high levels of employee engagement. For instance, Woliba’s engagement tool allows a single admin to instantly launch leadership, culture, and custom surveys, while real-time data and analytics can be broken down by department and location to save time and avoid headaches. With our simple dashboard, HR can oversee employee engagement, activity, and wellness data at a glance instead of having to pull data from a dozen different databases. You can interact with employees on the social feed to create organization-wide events and challenges with our built-in calendar integration. Our software automatically creates metrics that display the most engaged employees, so you can easily recognize and reward your top performers.
Build a Positive Company Culture
Culture is the X-factor of any organization. No level of salary or benefits can substitute for a positive workplace culture that values inclusion and fosters a sense of belonging, equity, and safety for all employees. Every day your employees should arrive at work knowing they are valued and appreciated for their efforts.
That’s why any employee reward & recognition program must place a priority on inclusion. When employees are empowered to recognize peers, praise occurs more organically and more frequently. That’s why wellness platforms like Woliba are built on a foundation of peer recognition to help leaders gain a valuable understanding of what the entire team values, not just the most visible players. While it might seem that a customized approach reaching employees at all levels of the organization is too expensive or time-consuming, many employers find that a tailored approach actually reduces costs while better serving all workers.
At Woliba, for instance, employees take wellness assessments that pinpoint areas of growth, from weight loss to smoking cessation to healthy eating to starting an exercise program. From there, our powerful tools allow employees to find coworkers with similar goals. Whether it’s finding a workout buddy or joining a company-wide challenge, Woliba leverages the power of inclusion to help organizations build a culture of recognition and wellbeing.