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Show Appreciation to Boost Employee Engagement

Can a simple “thank you” encourage employees to become more engaged in their jobs and entice them to stay on at the company?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that engagement and retention are major workforce challenges for Human Resource professionals. Research shows that recognition for a job well done can make a huge difference in the workplace by encouraging workers to bond with the team. More highly engaged employees are happier and tend to stay on at their jobs. According to Forbes, organizations with a culture of recognizing workers on a regular basis are likely to have a much higher performance rate and a whopping 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.

The Science behind Recognition

While some managers may believe that saying thank you with an award or a mention in the company newsletter is just an extra perk, psychologists say that being appreciated is actually a critical human need. In fact, the desire for a feeling of belonging is so strong that it is up there as a higher-level psychological need in Maslow’s well-known Hierarchy of Needs, right after survival and safety. Research also shows that being recognized has a physical effect. When people are praised and appreciated the body produces oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone.” People with higher levels of oxytocin are calmer, more trusting and more likely to perform better on the job.

The Benefits of Employee Recognition

While most employees welcome recognition, appreciation for doing a good job is particularly important to people with action-oriented personalities and those with a strong sense of responsibility. A robust employee recognition program can create a culture of engaged workers who are inspired to put more time and effort into their work. Motivated workers enjoy a feeling of purpose and believe that they are contributing to the long and short term goals of the organization. In a culture where expressing appreciation is the norm, workers receive recognition from their managers and also from their co-workers, building a strong foundation of teamwork and trust.

Demonstrating Appreciation

Managers can motivate workers to become more engaged in their tasks, perform at higher levels and remain with the company longer by implementing employee appreciation programs. Public recognition of high achieving employees also serves as a model for others. While traditional recognition programs focused on tenure and “old school” awards, there are better ways to promote engagement.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Be Specific

Resist the temptation to name an Employee of the Month as your worker appreciation program. Instead, reward workers for a specific accomplishment such as solving a problem or providing outstanding customer service. The key is to recognize people when they deserve it with praise for specific behavior. Recognition that has the ring of truth demonstrates to others the level of achievement managers appreciate.

2. Encourage Recognition between Co-Workers

Recognition between peers is viewed by workers as genuine, since peers are more aware of their co-workers’ day to day efforts than supervisors. In fact, peer-to-peer recognition is more likely to yield a positive result for the bottom line than top down appreciation. Some high performance appreciation programs allow every employee in the organization to recognize their co-workers by using a point system, which can then be publicly displayed through cloud-based platforms.

3. Go Public with Success Stories

Public praise can be even more effective than financial rewards like bonuses. Just as telling the “story” of your business works for branding, telling the story of an employee’s achievement promotes a positive corporate culture that boosts engagement. Shining a spotlight on an individual and telling the story of how s/he achieved success instills pride in the individual and serves as a roadmap for others.

4. View People as Individuals

Think about the employee’s unique personality to come up with the right approach in issuing a reward. A strategic recognition program reflects rewards that resonate with each individual worker. For example, an employee with an inquisitive personality is likely to value the opportunity for professional development to learn new skills to use on the job. Workers with

friendly, outgoing personalities might enjoy the opportunity to form a new team or become the leader of an existing group. Effective rewards are personal and individualized as well as specific to a particular accomplishment.

5. Practice Authenticity

In a world where “fake news” and manipulated graphics are everywhere, people value authenticity. A simple act like taking the time to send a handwritten note as opposed to an impersonal email can go a long way toward making a worker feel appreciated. Managers who deliver positive feedback in person by inviting the worker for coffee and a brief conversation can build a strong relationship that will serve them well going forward.

Partnering with True Colors International

At True Colors International we help organizations create a culture where every employee feels understood and empowered. We teach co-workers how to esteem different personality types so they can better understand themselves and the attributes of others. By showing people how to embrace each individual’s personality and value their differences, True Colors assists organizations significantly improve communication while boosting engagement, performance and productivity. When you partner with True Colors, an experienced Master Trainer will help evaluate your needs and help you set organizational goals.

We help your organization thrive by creating a customized program that provides solutions for challenges in areas of communication, conflict, leadership and team building. Our programs include consulting sessions, workshops and keynote addresses based on the proven True Colors temperament theory methodology. The True Colors track record of success has helped drive positive change in organizations around the world by empowering them to recognize and embrace individual personality differences