Rewarding employees for a job well done undoubtedly brings benefits not only for their morale but also for the organisation. Awards and recognition are perfect ways to celebrate milestones, paving the way for a supportive work culture. In fact, 44% of employees offer peer to peer recognition when they have access to the right tools, according to a culture report by TINYpulse. The report also says that 20% of all employees are willing to go the extra mile when appreciated by their colleagues.
Loyal clients and long-standing employees can be acknowledged through service awards, performance awards and milestone gifts, say experts at Inkwell Global Marketing. In these trying times, what can managers do to keep their employees motivated?
The Impact of Positive Employee Morale
Firstly, it leads to an increase in productivity and efficiency in the workplace. When employees genuinely enjoy the work atmosphere, they are pushed to work more efficiently and productively. Whenever employees have high morale, they will enjoy going to work and on top of it all, their quality of work is much higher.
Second, when employees have positive employee morale, they give the company a competitive edge. Think of this way, if your company is facing bankruptcy then one of the easiest ways you can pull through that crisis is when employee morale is high. Your employees will put their heads together and will strive to avoid the apocalyptic end of the company.
Positive and high company morale will lead you to attract and retain top talent. Employees will feel far more likely to remain loyal to the company when they have a good and healthy work environment which in turn leads to higher employee morale and that positive energy will help attract and retain talent.
Lastly, positive employee morale helps reduce costs. Think of this domino effect: high employee morale helps reduce workplace accidents which leads to fewer absences and helps lower stress which then leads to less paid time off.
In addition, prior research suggests that helping employees feel more valued and supported is important not just for those individual employees’ wellbeing, but also for the organisation as a whole. Studies have shown that when employees are more satisfied with their organisation, they are more productive and less likely to leave, and that recognising and empowering employees can increase motivation and improve performance across the organisation.
Clearly, symbolic interventions can be effective. But to maximise their impact, it’s important to customise these efforts to your organisation’s unique context. Research suggests that there are a few key factors managers should consider when trying out low-cost symbolic awards:
One of the most important considerations is who the award will come from. Management should consider where there might be current gaps in feedback — perhaps employees do not interact much with the beneficiaries of their work, or with senior leaders in their organisations — and should prioritise notes of appreciation from these groups. Especially when interaction is limited due to remote work, studies suggest that positive feedback from key stakeholders is likely to be particularly essential to keep socially-driven employees motivated.
It is also important to think about when the symbolic gesture is likely to make the biggest impact. For employees whose daily workflows have become increasingly stressful and unpredictable during the pandemic, daily recognition of the impact of their work could well be effective, while in other environments, daily feedback may start to feel forced or repetitive. In addition, research on the Fresh Start effect suggests that recognising your employees can be particularly impactful at key temporal landmarks. For example, a thank you note sent at the start of a new quarter or positive feedback delivered at the conclusion of a major project can serve as a booster shot of motivation when employees need it most.
Make It Public
Private feedback is appropriate in some situations, but public recognition — such as awarding certificates during a team meeting — can often be a cost-effective way to motivate the entire team. Public recognition can feel more impactful to the recipient, and it can also boost motivation among all employees, including those who aren’t recognised themselves. In one field experiment, when thank you cards were publicly awarded to the three top performers in small work groups, researchers found that performance increased not just for the top performers who received the recognition, but for all members of their group. This may be because witnessing a colleague receive accolades could compel other employees to improve their own performance to measure up. However, another study found that recognising employees publicly led to negative social comparison that reduced performance among non-awardees — so it’s important to consider both the positive and negative signals that public awards can send to employees, and adapt your messaging accordingly.
Details always Matter
Your employees can tell the difference between a rushed job and genuine appreciation. To make sure your symbolic interventions are well-received, it is important to pay attention to the details. For example, in our studies, the letters of appreciation were signed in ink by a direct manager and mailed to employees’ homes. A blanket email would no doubt have been much less effective. Another study found that employees were significantly more productive after receiving a physical, non-monetary gift that when they received small financial gifts. Employees reported feeling more valued when they could see that their employer took the time and effort to choose, purchase, and wrap the gift, and so they increased their own efforts in return. In conclusion, symbolic interventions such as thank you notes can also make a real impact — without the potential downsides of cash rewards, and with little to no cost to the employer. During these exceptionally challenging and stressful times, a bit of appreciation can go a long way.
Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?
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