Maintaining a motivated, hardworking workforce is integral to the success of any organization. But let’s face it – the daily grind of a nine-to-five can wear down even the most enthusiastic of employees. It’s important for leaders to take measures to encourage their workforce to bring their “A” game every day.
There’s more than one way to boost employee morale, but the best is through simple recognition. Rather than only doling out occasional bonuses to those who go above and beyond, the best business leaders plan to consistently recognize the efforts of each team member. Encouragement can build a stronger workforce in three steps:
“The best management makes a point to be specific and direct with its praise.”
Step 1: Makes employees feel valuable in the right ways
Some managers might consider bonuses and raises the only ways to communicate their appreciation of an employee, but these methods are not the only way to reward staff and could undermine other means of encouragement, according to Forbes. Remuneration is certainly one effective tool, but when a company is handing out raises, a simple “keep up the good work” doesn’t travel nearly as far. However, than such banal praise, the best management makes a point to be specific and direct. They congratulate employees on great work with a new project or communicate their appreciation for handling a particularly difficult client.
Recognition doesn’t always have to come from the higher-ups. Sometimes, it’s more effective when it comes from a peer. GuideSpark CEO Keith Kitani explained how his company uses colleague praise to boost performance:
“At GuideSpark, we show appreciation through a myriad of venues, including our weekly ‘wins meeting,’ where we celebrate the week’s successes and employees recognize colleagues for a job well done,” Kitani told Inc. “Showing appreciation for a fellow employee is an important part of our culture and builds a strong sense of community and engagement.”
Step 2: Reduces turnover and empowers employees
When employees feel valued, they approach their jobs with a better attitude and are more likely to stick around for the long haul. What’s more, those who don’t feel appreciated are likely to grow resentful and seek other employment, according to Robert Half. Still, strengthening the workforce goes beyond reducing turnover. Organizations must also empower their employees to work independently, think creatively and enjoy heading into the office. A happy employee is a productive employee, and positive attitudes are infectious. Managers can influence the productivity of their entire staff with some well-placed encouragement.
“We don’t believe in celebrating employees on just one day, so we won’t be doing anything special for [Employee Appreciation Day], in particular,” Tom Gimbel, CEO of LaSalle Network, told Inc. “We do random acts of appreciation throughout the year, like taking the whole company out for ice cream midday or bringing in McFlurrys for everyone in the office.”
Step 3: Everyone pulls in the same direction
Ultimately, a successful company is one in which the management and workforce have the same goals and will work together to reach them. Rewarding employees with gifts, bonuses and monthly contests is one way to motivate, but organizations with an employee recognition plan get the most out of their staff. A workforce that feels valued, empowered and willing to stay the course will help the business meet its targets because those individuals will have the very same objectives in mind. A business should not be a vehicle for a paycheck in the mind of its workforce – it should be a group striving for success.
Some innovative companies even reward an employee or team when an original project of theirs fails, according to Ere Media. These “failure rewards” show employees that creativity, problem-solving, independence and risk-taking are valuable traits that will be recognized.
It may seem hard to believe that employee recognition can have such a far-reaching impact on business, but it’s all about motivating the workforce. People respond best to specific praise that lets them know how well they’re doing and how much those around them appreciate it. The top leaders tap into that desire as a way of bringing out the best in their employees. In turn, those employees bring out the best in the organization.