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The human brain remembers negative things more than positive things simply because it was hard-wired that way. It was hard wired for survival. In the “survival of the fittest” context, negative experience s can harm you. Positive experiences are nice, but they are not of life and death importance.
We’ve all experienced this phenomenon in personal ways, as spouses, parents, managers even within friendships. Trust is one of the most important ingredients (arguably the most important) in any relationship. AS David Lee, an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices mentions in his seminars…
“The ability to remember that a particular patterned snake is poisonous is a life or death issue. Remembering that a particularly patterned bird has an enjoyable song is a quality of life issue. While quality of life is important, it is not as important at a primal level as your survival. Thus, our brains notice and remember what’s wrong, bad, and dangerous more effectively than what’s right, positive, and pleasurable.”
His list of the ten employee perceptions you can’t afford to have in your organization are:
- “You want us to care about you, but you don’t care about us.”
- “You want us to show interest in your business goals, but you keep us in the dark.”
- “You make it hard to do the kind of job I can feel proud of.”
- “You have no clue about what it’s like for us in the trenches.”
- “You make decisions that affect us, but you don’t have the decency or commonsense to ask for our input.”
- “You allow slacking off, poor performance, and bad behavior slide.”
- “You take me for granted.”
- “You don’t let me know how I’m doing, and you don’t let me know what I’m doing well.”
- “You take advantage of your power.”
- “You want me to be more motivated, yet you’re not inspired — or inspiring.”
Employee recognition is certainly not a cure-all for the above but can be used to offset and impact many of these perceptions.
If you’re interested in learning about a high value, low cost gift card recognition system that is easy to implement please contact us above.
When is the last time you meant to tell an employee, “thanks for the great effort, we really appreciate your good work”, but forgot. You think to yourself that you can tell them later in the day or tomorrow, or by the end of the week. If you’re like most of us, that can happen a lot. And by the time you get around to it the enthusiasm is faded and the importance is gone. When you do, you lose the golden opportunity to affect an employee’s attitude and performance at work.
That’s one reason why an on the spot employee recognition system is so important. You can award someone instantly when it will do the most good. Waiting for traditional recognition award systems to kick in doesn’t reinforce the pride an employee feels right after you acknowledge the great performance. If anything it can show them that their work went unnoticed and wasn’t a top priority for you.
It is well known that good performance will be repeated when recognized. The more that an employee sees that you appreciate their efforts, the more they will continue to produce quality work.
On the spot rewards can also boost morale. They can spread like wild fire in the workplace, especially in an environment where today’s employees feel under appreciated.
The On The Spot gift card award system was developed for just these type of programs. For a simple white paper that will give you a brief overview of On The Spot, please click here.
That seems to be a topic of discussion with almost every client we meet these days. We’ve spoken to several in the last couple months who relate case after case of disgruntled employees who leave and go to work elsewhere. So yes, retention is a problem and could even get worse.
Lately we’ve also seen more research focused on this very important question. One reason for employees leaving is always going to be money. But when an employee’s decision to stay or go comes down to a very small difference in pay, there are obviously other issues at play.
We doubt that it is surprising to anyone in the HR world that disengaged employees are more likely to leave a company for a pay raise than engaged employees. A recent Dale Carnegie survey confirmed this showing that 26% of engaged employees would leave their job for just a 5% pay raise vs. 46% of partially engaged employees and 69% of disengaged employees.
We all know that engagement does matter, and not just for retention. Engagement gives the employees the ability and willingness to contribute to the company’s success. Consider what Jim Harter, Gallup’s Chief Scientist had to say about the state of employee engagement.
“Over the past year, Gallup researchers interviewed nearly 150,000 workers–people in all states and industries–and discovered that a stunning number are miserable in their jobs. More specifically, only 30% of the nation’s working population today admits to being fully engaged at work. While Gallup encouragingly notes that there’s been a slight improvement to engagement since the Great Recession, it’s hard to cheer when you realize 52% of Americans admit to being disengaged in their jobs, and another 18% to being actively disengaged.”
To put that into perspective, what do you think would happen if the eleven players on a football team had the same attitudes and feelings about being engaged? Three would be playing their hearts out, five would be doing the slow walk back and forth to the huddle, and two would be dogging it on every play. I doubt if that team would get to too many championship games.
Importantly it’s not the disengaged you should be worried about; you can easily cut them during the season. It’s those that don’t have the energy and spirit to really get into the game. it’s the middle of the group that should concern you. They are the ones who can be swayed one way or the other. These are the ones who will help you build that championship team.
We’ve researched hundreds of employee recognition and incentive programs over the years. We often have prospective clients who say they have used employee recognition programs in the past and the programs just don’t seem to work for them. They say they get relatively little return for their investment and these programs are often the first budgets to be cut when economic times are bad. Frankly, in most cases executives are completely in the right to discontinue these programs.
In our research, we find many reasons why employee recognition systems don’t produce desired results. But, those reasons will typically fall into one of these three categories:
Let Your Employees Choose What They Want
Don’t use awards that you think they want, or what appeal to you, or what your award vendor says they want. Within reason, let your employees choose. Survey them and figure out what hits their hot button how they would like to be rewarded.
Let Your Employees Track Their Performance
Set the expectations of what you want them to do and then give honest measurement of how they are performing and then recognize those efforts. Make this information easily available to them so they can be reminded of what they’ve been told, and how far along they are in the process.
Keep Everyone Informed
Good communications is the heart and soul of any great employee recognition/incentive effort. Sharing performance in view of the measured values/objectives you have in the program is critical to continued success. Showing what individual employees are doing to receive recognition makes it easier to motivate more employees to do the same.
As mentioned, there are many reasons that employee recognition/incentive programs don’t produce the desired results. It goes without saying that the involvement of upper management in any of these efforts is critical. If they are going to be your cheerleaders and provide ongoing involvement and enthusiastic support, you probably shouldn’t even bother with the effort in the first place.
As reported in Incentive Magazine, research published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans shows that incorporating incentives into a wellness program was found to be a key reason why these programs are showing a high return on the investment….up to $3 for every dollar spent.
Many companies are now seeing a direct connection between wellness initiatives and the effect they can have on both employee health and health care plan cost savings. Companies that manage health risks stand to add a great deal of profit to the bottom line. But, to manage those costs you need to have the buy in and enthusiastic support of your employees. According to Wellsource, a leader in health risk assessments there are several things you can do to ramp up the participation, among them are:
- Make it social, people like to be part of something and enjoy the support of their peers.
- Have wellness leaders; find those employees in the organization that are health-minded and ask them to champion the effort.
- Invite significant others to participate, they become a valuable support group
- Offer incentives, they have shown to help achieve participation rates up to 80%
- Recognize accomplishments; anyone who has ever lost weight, quit smoking, maintained an exercise campaign will tell you that being recognized by their management and peers is very motivational.
There are a myriad of behaviors you can choose from to initiate your program that are easy to measure and reward. A few might include:
- Completing health screenings
- Completing healthcare questionnaire
- Getting the blood pressure checked
- Getting body mass or other health indicators checked
And once enrolled, use incentives to keep them enrolled and progressing on the path toward better health. There are many motivational incentives that you can use such s cash, discounts in premiums, gift cards, sports related merchandise or gym memberships. You are the best judge of what award will work best within your overall benefit system. When used properly, incentives are probably more important that communications in producing results.
For a wellness award that is very flexible to use, guarantees that your employees will receive the award they reall want, and is very cost effective, you may want to take a look at Award of Choice.