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The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Engagement

March 21, 2011 by  

The power of recognition is real. There are several reasons why employers have recognition programs. They wish to create a positive work environment, create a culture of recognition, motivate high performance and support the organization’s mission and values. It is how a recognition program is actually executed, however, that determines if these goals will be met.

Here are some do’s and don’ts of effective employee engagement:

Don’t speak negatively about your recognition programs. A CEO of a company was once quoted as saying, “Yeah, we have an employee-of-the-month program. It doesn’t work very well and everybody seems to hate it, but it’s there, so we’re keeping it.” Instead, try to find out why employees seem to hate your program. Ask for their opinions on how to improve it.

Don’t overlook the details. One sales manager purchased neckties for all his sales reps, forgetting that several of them were women. Another office manager bought each of his fifteen employees a ham with personal funds one holiday season – only to be reminded that two of the employees were Jewish and did not eat ham.

Don’t publicly single out low-performers. One insurance company singles out low-performing salespeople at its quarterly awards function and has them get up in front of the company’s seven-hundred other sales reps and explain why they didn’t do a better job. This practice makes morale suffer drastically. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and humiliation. Support your employees. Be positive. If you need to address under-performance, do it in private.  Here is a great article with tips for improving employee morale:  Ideas for Employee Appreciation and Recognition.

Don’t ever forget about employee recognition. When asked what he liked to do to recognize his employees when they do good work, a manager said, “I like to write a letter to the employee’s personnel file.” When asked when was the last time he did that, the manager thought for a few seconds before responding, “1987.” It’s important to acknowledge your employees’ impact on your company a regular basis. Set biweekly reminders for yourself in Outlook with things such as “Who should be recognized this week?” or “Write a ‘thank you’ note to 2 members of the team today. Everyone is busy nowadays, but as a manager, it is your responsibility to recognize the people who deserve it. Don’t get successes go unnoticed.

Effective recognition motivates employee performance and elevates company morale. However, thoughtless and ineffective recognition efforts can generate long-lasting skepticism and negativity. When employers recognize good performance by their employees, chances are they will see that good performance again.

Award Concepts delivers employee recognition programs that are guaranteed to inspire, motivate and engage your workforce. Contact a recognition professional today for more information.

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