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Three Signs It's Time to Rethink Employee Recognition

Rachel Reed
7/15/20 11:53 AM

Despite having an employee recognition program in place, employees may be experiencing burnout. Even engaged employees who are thriving experience higher burnout, sadness, worry, and stress–all of which are harmful to businesses. The initial excitement and impact of a well-intentioned recognition program may have dwindled, signaling a need for leadership to reevaluate their employee engagement strategy. Here are three signs it may be time to rethink employee recognition and simple solutions to energize and motivate employees: 

1. Silence 

Hearing less from employees? Engagement levels in 2020 have taken a historic nosedive due to economic uncertainty and civil unrest. For the first time, Gallup engagement statistics show an employee engagement decline from its highest ever (38%) in May to 31% in June. 

Silence, or the bare minimum contact between employees and managers is a sign that sentiment has shifted for the worse. In fact, according to Gallup, only 38% of employees say their company asks for their input on changes affecting their work. Even more alarmingly, just one in five say their job allows them to share and work on their most creative ideas.

Solution: Meaningful conversations between managers and employees

Embed innovation into company culture. Encourage employees to innovate, be creative even if their roles don’t require it, and share ideas through open dialogue with managers. Create time and space for employees to enter the conversation of improving the company’s products, services, and growth strategies and reward their contributions. As most companies are faced with an unexpected call to rebuild, adapt, and rethink, employees are an invaluable resource. 


2. Employee Deliverables are Missing the Mark 

Is there a disconnect between expectations and deliverables? Managers still account for 70% of their employees' engagement and should therefore hold themselves and employees accountable for clarity, communication, and direction.

Solution: Clearly Defined Expectations 

Especially for companies with a majority of employees working remotely, crystal clarity is key. Managers should be clear and detailed on expectations of employees, leaving little room for confusion and employees should take responsibility for clarifying. As Gallup states, a manager’s requests should “be clear, collaborative, and aligned.” Tie measurable achievements directly to values and rewards. When employees are completely clear on expectations, and, even better, rewarded for delivering, the message is more likely to stick. 


3. Malaise or Lack of Enthusiasm

Do employees appear to be disengaged, unenthusiastic, or generally apathetic, despite efforts to maintain a recognition program? Consider what, when, and how often leadership interacts with and includes employees in business decisions, direction, and updates. 

Solution: Share More News, Updates

Be deliberate in sharing how teams are currently impacting customers. Share updates frequently on company-wide wins, strides, and successes to ensure every employee across the business is aware of how their contributions positively impact the organization. Tie such announcements to rewarding experiences: attach a company-wide point bonus to positive, encouraging news. No matter what role an individual plays, this shared sense of accomplishment will spark employees’ sense of belonging and revitalize the company’s team mindset.

Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace 

employee recognition attitudes and behavior download-1

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