Employee appreciation day is more than just another employee of the month program — it's a way for HR to strategically drive business outcomes.

Employee Appreciation Day is fast approaching, but many employers see this as just another silly holiday with little merit. Appreciation is more than just another "employee of the month" award — it's a way to drive business-impacting behaviors to add value to the bottom line. Employers can leverage employee appreciation and recognition to not only reward employees for a job well done, but to target their behaviors on specific areas of the business, reinforcing organizational strategies. By using recognition for reinforcing areas like safety, performance, quality, customer service or other elements of the business, HR leaders can help grow organizational performance.

Taking Recognition Seriously

Recognition is often seen as nothing more than a pat on the back for a worker that does a good job. But it can also be so much more if the organization approaches the concept strategically. Recognition programs can help employers improve a variety of metrics, adding value to the business. Consider the following two examples of how this looks in practice.

  • Customer Satisfaction: If the business decides that customer satisfaction is the target above all else, then leaders can find ways to recognize and reinforce key customer satisfaction behaviors. Those behaviors can be as simple as smiling and offering a warm greeting, but they can also extend to areas like mastery of product knowledge. It's important to note that something like a customer survey is not what we're looking for at this point, though that can help to measure the result and impact. It's about trying to identify those critical behaviors that need to be recognized among employees.
  • Product Quality: Another example of a business objective might be product quality. In this scenario, employers can recognize quality-related behaviors as a way to emphasize the importance of quality and reinforce those behaviors over time. Examples of behaviors to look for might be on-time delivery, defect rates or self-checks for quality control purposes. The intent is to look for any behaviors that feed up into creating and delivering a high-quality product or service because ultimately there are specific, measurable behaviors that lead into quality metrics.

Again, these are just two examples, but employers can focus on virtually any business objective and then back into specific ways to leverage recognition to drive targeted behaviors.

Building a Business Case for Employee Appreciation

Recognition programs have the incredible power to influence the business, but HR leaders must consider the business case in order to keep this on the agenda for the firm's leadership. Many firms are willing to try a recognition program, but it's common to see a drastic drop-off in participation after only a short period of time.

According to Authentic Recognition, there are three areas of ROI that can demonstrate the value of one of these programs:

  1. Return on Intangibles: How do employees feel? Are they more motivated? If so, to what degree?
  2. Return on Individuals: How is it affecting employee behaviors? Are they engaged in self-development and growth? Is there good uptake of the program among the workers?
  3. Return on Investments: How are the behaviors affecting key business indicators? Are workers receiving recognition delivering better service, improving quality or contributing more ideas and innovations?

By being very focused on measuring the outcomes of recognition, HR leaders can help to create lasting value for the business and its stakeholders.

Tags: Employment Trends culture