Employee Recognition – During the Holidays and Year-Round
By Ally Smit
There is no better time than the holidays to thank your employees for a year of hard work. Through holiday parties, generous bonuses, or thoughtful gifts, there are many ways that you, as an employer, can celebrate the holiday season while also praising your employees for a great year. Although holiday parties and gifts are fun and provide employees with an opportunity to de-stress, this should not be the only demonstration of appreciation that you use. In reality, employees require frequent, timely, and specific recognition in order to feel appreciated throughout the year.
According to The 2019 Employee Engagement Report created by Tiny Pulse, less than one-third of employees said they weren’t well recognized the last time they went the extra mile at work. Additionally, the same number stated they had not received any recognition in the past two weeks. A lack of recognition can lead to a variety of issues, such as employee dissatisfaction, a decrease in employee loyalty, and an increase in turnover. As discussed in a report conducted by OC Tanner, 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.
So how can you provide effective recognition throughout the year? Start by considering what effective recognition looks like and strategizing how you can develop a culture of appreciation in their workplace. Below are some key points on what any effective recognition program should include.
Frequent Recognition Tailored to the Individual
Many employers perceive recognition as a formal activity reserved for performance reviews. While having a system of performance management is a very important part of providing feedback and recognition to employees, most reviews are held annually or quarterly and therefore do not provide the opportunity for less formal, ad hoc feedback. Recognition can easily be provided by highlighting an employee’s achievements on a major project in a monthly staff meeting, thanking them for their hard work on a task over email, or talking to them for four to five minutes to praise their performance.
As discussed in Business Insider’s article How Often do Employees Need Recognition, employers should consider providing recognition to their employees every two or three weeks and should tailor the recognition to the employee’s individual achievements. If you are looking to praise a team for their success in a project, then ensure you acknowledge the different roles that each employee played in the team that resulted in the project’s success.
Recognition is Timely, Appropriate, and Valuable
Effective recognition is timely and provided shortly after the activity was completed. The more time that passes between when the activity was completed and when the recognition was provided, the less meaningful the praise will be to the employee. For example, delaying in emailing an employee to congratulate them on a project they completed two months ago would not provide the same value as providing recognition immediately after the project was finished.
Additionally, recognition should be appropriate and valuable in relation to the task completed. Providing the same level of recognition to an employee for every task they complete, no matter how difficult, lessens the value for when an employee accomplishes a task outside of their typical duties. For ideas on how to provide appropriate recognition for the tasks completed, check out the article 5 Ways Leaders Rock Employee Recognition.
Recognition is Linked to Organizational Values
Lastly, recognition should be linked to your organizational values. In order to effectively develop a culture of appreciation, you must consider how a recognition program could fit into your current organizational culture. It’s important to remember that every organizational culture is different, and therefore not every recognition tactic will work for every organization.
Identifying which recognition tactics work best for your organization will likely involve trial and error as you figure out which strategies best reflect your organizational values. Check out the article How Recognition Can Construct Your Company Culture for further considerations on linking recognition to your organizational culture.
Some Holiday Season Recognition Suggestions
Now that you are ready to develop a culture of appreciation in your organization, or expand upon the recognition tactics you currently have in place, let’s discuss how you can provide insightful recognition during the holiday season. Below are some ideas on how you can show your employees how much you appreciate their hard work during the holidays.
Handwritten holiday cards
Handwritten holiday cards are an authentic way to praise employees for a year of hard work. Through personalized messages, you can thank each employee for their hard work and dedication throughout the year while also wishing them a happy holiday season.
Bonus tip: The more details, the better! Praise each employee for a specific project or task that they completed in 2019 that stood out to you.
Help reduce holiday stress by setting up a wrapping station. Pick up some wrapping paper, nametag stickers, and bows and take over an open office space. Inform your employees that space is open and encourage them to use the space during work breaks to wrap gifts and socialize with each other.
Bonus tip: Get involved! Volunteer 10-15 minutes of your time every day to wrap presents for your employees.
Flexible Working Arrangements
According to a survey conducted by Seareach.plc.uk, 75% of office workers want flexible working arrangements during the holiday period. Consider showing your appreciation to your employees by offering remote capabilities, or allowing later starting/earlier closing times.
Bonus tip: Be thoughtful! Allow your employees to leave early on Christmas Eve and/or New Year’s Eve.
As we near the end of the year, take the time to reflect on what your organization has achieved this year and the roles your employees played in accomplishing these milestones, as well as the role you have played as a leader. Consider creating an organizational goal at the start of the New Year to develop a culture of appreciation and make recognition your focus in the new year.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Chemistry Consulting Group!