You Better Recognize!

Aug 17, 2023 | Incentives & Recognition, Recognition Programs, Rewards Programs

Eight Workplace Dynamics Essential to Employee Engagement

In office. Hybrid. Remote. No matter how your company gets work done today, what remains important for preserving your culture is the manner of how your employees are shown recognition and appreciation. The pandemic and its subsequent fallout continue to affect the workplace.

One thing is for sure — it’s not net neutral from where you were three years ago. Some employees have left; some are new. Morale is different. It may be better, it may be worse, but it’s different. How can you best ensure employee engagement is where it should be? The name of the game is performance improvement and status quo mean you are losing ground. But a good game plan for recognizing employees can go a long way to keeping them engaged and performing at optimal levels. It all starts with acknowledging those who “master the moment.”

Here are eight workplace dynamics to consider when it comes to recognizing the value of team members.

1. The Value of Values

If your company was to conduct a check-up of its values, what would the after-visit summary say? Are the values relevant? Can employees easily align their roles to them? Is employee performance being recognized when their actions reflect those values? Recognition is a means of showing appreciation. Simple, right? Well, most surveys indicate that approximately 25% of employees strongly agree they feel connected to their culture and approximately 33% strongly agree that they belong at their organization. Think about that, for every 10 employees, less than three of them feel strongly connected to the culture in their workplace.

Shared values are a great place to start to build meaningful connections throughout the team. Preserving your culture is a daily discipline and leaders are met with constant challenges in our newly created virtual workplace cultures. Just one of the many benefits of an effective recognition program is that it is not limited to a brick-and-mortar environment. Recognition works in all work environments. Make it work for you.

2. Recognition Does More Than Boost Morale

Recognition shouldn’t be like a 24-hour energy drink in a small plastic bottle offering a temporary boost. It should be genuine and authentic and have a lasting effect. Engagement cannot be boosted; it needs to be built on a solid foundation. Short-term boosts are uneven, fatiguing and don’t allow for team members to feel a true sense of engagement. A recognition program not only allows you to highlight those individuals deserving of recognition, but it also helps to communicate and advance the values that are important to your organization and its long-term mission.

3. The Many Modes of Motivation

Engaged employees are motivated employees. They bring energy, creativity and commitment to their role. They also bring differing individual constructs based on life experiences — there is diversity in what motivates them. For some, the motivation may be monetary rewards (okay, maybe a few more than some). For others, it may be time off to be with family after working long hours on a project. Understand that motivation comes in many forms and many flavors. The one thing it is not is “one size fits all.” Cash may be king for some but not all team members covet the same crown. Recognition is only meaningful if it is meaningful to the recipient, not the sender.

4. Celebrate Small Wins

Victories come in all shapes and sizes. Recognition is fantastic for acknowledging those victories. Mountains vary in height and difficulty, but the climb still had to be made. Recognize the climb. Acknowledge the effort and let people enjoy the view. There will be more hills to climb, but they will do it with vigor and engagement knowing they are appreciated for the effort.

5. Aligning the Outcome with the Incentive

Incentives are meant to create a desired action or behavior. But is your incentive driving the intended behavior? While recognition can help to drive engagement and performance that is aligned to a vision or mission, a well-placed incentive can be effective in reaching near-term sales goals or project deadlines. The goal is finite and quantitative — if you do X, you get Y. Exercise due diligence to ensure that the carrot that gets dangled does not spur an unintended outcome. Now go get ’em.

6. For Maximum Impact Recognize Everybody

Employees who are highly engaged are likely working at their optimum level. But it’s the greater mass of your workforce that will most benefit your culture when they are recognized. Keep a keen focus on the core of your team, that’s where engagement can increase and more readily take root among team members throughout the company.

7. There is a Science to the Art of Recognition

The original sin of recognition is to view it simply as a soft-skilled art. Recognized employees are engaged employees. Engaged employees are productive employees. Productive employees create work environments of efficiency and innovation. Production and efficiency are typical traits of companies that enjoy a healthy bottom line. Some metrics show that an employee engagement improvement of 15% can correlate to a 2% increase in operating margin.

And workforce studies indicate that there is a clear connection between engagement and retention. We will save the impact that employee retention has on an organization for another time. But consider in real dollars what a 2% lift in operating margin can mean for your organization.

Now, about that art. A good recognition program doesn’t just mean emoji smiles and “you rock” announcements pinned to a fabric cubicle wall. It includes a sound strategic approach, a communication plan so employees have a clear understanding of goals, and a recognition mechanism that is designed to be inclusive of everyone on the team.

8. What Works for You

Whether looking to preserve or transform your workplace culture, you can achieve your goal through recognition. No matter how you want to move the needle on performance improvement, the implementation of a recognition program should be the bedrock to enable it. When you think about it, how many resources are at your disposal that can connect with every facet of your organization? Check that, how many resources are at your disposal that connect with every facet of your organization in a positive, reinforcing way? Not many. A recognition program has the power to inspire, motivate and engage in a very tangible way. And that’s a vision any company can get behind.

A SaaS Solution

With its proprietary enterprise SaaS-based incentives and recognition platform — PerformX — One10 offers a solution that bundles promotions, rewards, and valuable insights and reporting tools into a mobile friendly package. PerformX technology drives performance improvement by motivating a team or an entire workforce and provides employee alignment with corporate goals and vision. Configurable and cost efficient, PerformX is the exponential outcome of the application of data and the benefit of highly skilled human capital with a rich, deep and diverse knowledge of incentive and recognition programs.


Roger Burgess

Roger Burgess

Roger has 37 years of corporate and brand communications experience, primarily in the employee, wholesale and retail channels. He has been with One10 and its prior iterations for 24 years, helping clients with varied performance improvement solutions including: speechwriting, branding and positioning, print, online, video, training and live meeting support. He subscribes to the simplest of all notions: “what else is there, besides communication?”
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