Let’s face it a disgruntled workforce leads to an unpleasant workplace, which in turn is likely to result in lower productivity and disharmony. Employees who feel undervalued, will, no matter how loyal, eventually leave.
So, how can employers celebrate employees’ achievements without breaking the bank?
This question raises issues such as:
- Is the payment of wages enough of a reward for exceptional performance and achievement?
- Should reward only be given for outcomes? Or should reward also be given for effort?
- Should recognition be rewarded by payment of money only? Or are there other ways to celebrate an employee’s achievements and efforts?
- Will recognition of employees’ efforts and achievements help to attract and retain skilled employees?
- Will recognition for effort and achievement aid in maintaining a harmonious workplace?
It seems the traditional annual bonus has vanished and this may be a result of the economic climate. This however should not mean exceptional performance/effort goes unrecognised.
While the all company email acknowledging performance/effort may be appreciated, it does not demonstrate genuine recognition, appreciation and acknowledgement for extraordinary effort.
In past roles, I have felt my efforts such as very long hours, successful outcomes for clients, the introduction of new clients and the creation of new practice areas have gone unnoticed.
I have been the subject of the all company email every now and then but that never felt as though my efforts were properly recognised. I still felt undervalued and of course this contributed to my decision to eventually leave these roles. My departure from those firms resulted in the loss of work (and fees) to those businesses. This must have had a financial impact on the firms I left.
When I became an employer, I made an effort to acknowledge exceptional achievements of employees and rewarded these efforts both financially via other forms of acknowledgement. I am not saying that everyone who worked for me was happy all the time, that is impossible to achieve, however, my team was productive and stable and in my view the acknowledgement of exceptional efforts and achievements helped in accomplishing this. Some of the rewards provided, other than bonuses and pay rises were:
- Personal acknowledgment of the efforts/achievements – thanking the employee(s) personally for their efforts;
- Group lunch celebrations;
- Time off after long hours of work;
- Financing of further education and training; and
- Hotel and movie vouchers.
This is not an exhaustive list, there are other options I’m sure, but the list simply demonstrates that thinking outside the box (money is not the only reward) is often just as appreciated, if not more, than money. Time off can give an employee a chance to rejuvenate and will give them an opportunity to do something they enjoy during a period when they would normally be at work.
So to answer the questions identified above, here are my views:
Is the payment of wages enough of a reward for exceptional performance and achievement?
Employers should, if possible consider reward over and above payment of salary for exceptional performance/effort.
Should reward only be given for outcomes? Or should reward also be given for effort?
Reward should not only be results based. Reward should acknowledge exceptional efforts of employees no matter what the result.
Should recognition be rewarded by payment of money only? Or are there other ways to celebrate an employee’s achievements and efforts?
Extra money is always handy but thinking outside the box when it comes to rewarding the exceptional is, in my view the way to go. Don’t forget to always say thank you for the effort.
Will recognition of employees’ efforts and achievements help attract and retain skilled employees?
In my experience – yes. A happy group of workers who can say that they enjoy coming to work are far more likely to stay in a workplace than disgruntled employees. Additionally, people talk. A good reputation will attract talent.
Will recognition for effort and achievement aid in maintaining a harmonious workplace?
In my view – yes. It fosters an environment of trust and support. Happy workers make a happy workplace.
Acknowledgment of effort and achievement should form part of the workplace culture.