Find Out Why You Must Invest Time And Money Into Employee Recognition Programs

Everybody is looking for validation, no matter who you are, and I think that’s a need of the human condition – to look for affection or recognition or validation. ~Alejandro González Iñárritu

Recognition is a way of informing a person that you value his/her efforts, knowledge and personality. Lack of recognition in an organisation leads to inefficient work culture, lower productivity, conflicts and higher attrition rate.

Some of the guiding principles of the best employee recognition programs across the world are mentioned below:

  • Give recognition to specific achievements.
  • The recognition program should be linked with the organisation’s mission, objectives and values.
  • Recognition should be offered in a timely manner.
  • Recognition should be offered in monetary and non-monetary ways.

The principles can be modified as per different organisations, but the ideology remains the same.

Every business owner should put themselves in their employees shoes to understand the psychology behind the need for praising them for their efforts. Appreciation is considered a human need, which is often a guiding factor of increased productivity, a positive work environment and happier personnel.

Every organisation should implement employee recognition methods to make sure that employees receive adequate praise from senior management for their efforts.

Robert Cialdini termed employee recognition as the principle of social proof in action because he believed that humans tend to perform similarly to their peer group, and if one is appreciated for his/her work, the others will follow with the same intensity to improve their performance.

Recognising people for their work sends a powerful message across the company that you not only value hard work and desirable results, but that you are vocal about it. Yes, appreciating an employee in person is a nice gesture, but being public about it will encourage other employees to up their game as well.

Why do most employee recognition programs fail to achieve their goals?

Being appreciated is what we all desire and aim for; however, praising others in a meaningful and timely manner is a skill that needs to be learnt. Business owners need to acquire such skills and make sure that their managers are given proper coaching regarding appreciation and recognition to help them acquire them too. Most programs fail because senior management do not know how to analyse employee performance reports accurately and how to praise their employees in the right manner.

How can we increase the effectiveness of employee recognition programs?

Several practices will help you achieve your goals, such as:

  • Keep a considerable share of the profits aside every year to be be utilised for employee recognition programs, like monetary benefits or recognition awards.
  • Implement easy to use recognition systems, like Xtend system.
  • Set strict rules and regulations regarding performance evaluation and recognition practices to ensure fair methods.
  • Help management acquire appreciation skills to encourage desirable recognition practices.
  • Your employee recognition programs should be focused solely on the employees to avoid complicating the program, i.e. do not create a program which benefits only senior management.

You can employ several employee recognition award ideas, such as best performer of the month/year, best sales executive, the most improved employee of the year, most inspiring leader of the year, best team player and many others.

The purpose of an employee recognition program is to make sure that all the efforts of every employee are valued and appreciated, and send a strong message across the organisation that the company rewards and recognises hard work, fair practices and desirable results. Such programs will help to inspire your employees, improve their work and achieve all the goals of the organisation.

Value! Appreciate! Reward!

Eada Hudes is a blogger whose experiences in life make her really tougher than anyone else. She can lend you expert tips on diverse topics ranging from relationship to fashion, business, making money, health and so on. Her write-ups are a window into her thoughts and knowledge.”

Keeping Your Business Organized: 3 Tips for Owners

Part of running a business like a well-oiled machine comes down to superb organization skills and policies. When things are properly organized, this will save you and your employees loads of time. Items will be more easily found, and your employee’s work spaces will not look trashy and cluttered. So, if you are ready to whip your business into shape, then here are three organization tips you must follow for best results. 

Back of the Store 

The back of your store, where no one but you and your employees tread, is where you keep all your inventory and other business-related supplies. To keep these items organized, you will need shelving for products, heavy duty storage cabinets and bins for other supplies. Putting in a system for quickly locating what you need will also be a great plan. This way, anyone new that you hire on will be able to quickly orient themselves to finding what they need without wasting a lot of time searching without end. 

Front Customer Area 

Any time customers can see an area of your store, you do not want these areas to look cluttered or messy. This is especially the case if it is an employee work station. Unorganized areas like that will give the hint that you and your employees do not spend time carefully making sure your store is both neat and clean. By assigning an employee to go around to do regular checks and remind employees to clean up the areas they are in charge over, you will help to always ensure your store is ready for your customers to see. 

Digital Organization 

As with your physical products and supplies, your computer system and digital files need to be in order too. One way to do this is to install a quality database to help you gain access to any digital form or information you need at the push of a button. Often it is necessary for companies to have a couple of IT guys on staff to ensure that your digital systems are not only organized, but you also want them to be operating within acceptable parameters. In addition, these employees can help you keep your social media postings organized to ensure that your company is being properly represented online too. 

Your business is the foundation on which you plan to build your success. By using superb organization policies, you will help this effort along in a big way. Plus, you will help to make sure that your employees have everything they need at their fingertips to make you happy with their performance. Consequently, organization is a critical aspect of any viable business model.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Improve Employee Retention with Workplace Perks

As a business owner, at any given moment you’re juggling tons of things on your plate—making payroll, managing the workplace, keeping supplies properly stocked, troubleshooting tech issues. Worrying about whether the staff you’ve hired is happy and fulfilled needn’t not be another thing on that ever-growing list. Employee retention can be tricky but in thoughtfully thinking of valuable perks to put in place, you can put both your mind at ease as well as ensure employees feel needed and valued. After all, employee satisfaction is a win-win for everyone. 

Read on for some ways to get a hold on employee retention at your business and ensure in both small and large ways that new and old employees stick around for the long haul. 

Health insurance 

Our health is truly our wealth and quality health insurance will go a long way with your employees. Having to manage a persistent sinus infection or a larger health crisis can be stressful, especially without health insurance. In providing health insurance for employees of your business, you demonstrate a level of care for their well-being. Beyond that, many gyms offer deals to businesses who want to incentivize employees to join. Employees that are in good health are those who can contribute effectively to the bottom line of your business. 

Family-like environment

Yet another way to demonstrate care for your employees is fostering a family-like environment. Keep a running tab of employees birthdays in an office-wide calendar for both you, as the business owner, and for fellow colleagues to see. If an employee has recently gotten married, had a new child, purchased a new home, had a death in the family or any other victory/setback, make note of it. Give employees cards or gift cards to both celebrate and comfort them in their time of need. These thoughtful notions speak volumes. 

Vacation and paid time off

Everyone needs a little time off sometimes. In offering vacation and paid time off for your employees, you contribute to work satisfaction long-term and give space for your staff to take breaks avoiding burnout. What’s more, having adequate vacation and paid time off is a great way to attract top notch talent to your business during hiring stages. Employees need to feel encouraged to both work and rest to be the best staff member they can be. 

Performance bonuses 

Another great way to contribute to employee retention are performance bonuses. What better way to show those you’ve hired and remind them they are an integral part in rewarding them with extra money? Plan in advance when you’ll offer performance reviews and bonuses based on the results of those. 

Paid sick days 

To the addendum of health is your wealth, and paid sick days fall into the same category. Employees need to feel that when they are unwell, it is okay for them to rest and take time off work to get better. And to be paid for that time when they are unwell. Make sure to have paid sick days as an option for employees to opt into. 

401(k), retirement plan and pension

As much as you’d love to have your employees with you forever, there will come a time when they will move on and retire. When that time comes, you’ll want to, as a business owner, have protections for them in place to cushion them for their hard work for your business. Have 401(k) or other retirement plans or pensions available to be chosen from. 

Flexible schedule 

An additional method for improving employee retention is to have flexible schedules as an option for all new hires and for employees period. Talk to both your new hires and employees that have been with your small business for a while to ask if their schedule works for them. Be open to allowing employees to come in later and leave later or come in early and leave early. Remember: a happy employee is a productive one and one that will stay with your company. 

Office perks

Your employees will spend the vast majority of their waking life at your small business so why not have some perks in office for them to enjoy? Think of things that would be appreciated such as a free lunch every now and then, employee appreciation barbecues in the warm weather months or even office parties for the holidays. A robust break room with free snacks as well as coffee and water are always good ideas, too. 

Employee development programs 

Want to motivate your employees to continue to invest in themselves and ensure employee retention at the same time? Employee development programs are the route to go in. Offer a robust list of activities for employees of your small business: tech skills, interpersonal communication, leadership. Encourage employees to take part in these programs with frequent reminders and updating offerings throughout the year. 

Sam Casteris is a small business owner and freelance writer operating out of Phoenix, AZ. You can find more of her work on Contently.

4 Simple Strategies for Boosting Your Employees’ Morale

Employee morale makes a big difference in workplace productivity. As an employer, you can’t control your staff’s mood, but you can definitely ensure that they have a happy, healthy, and considerate environment to work in. Here are four simple strategies to consider implementing.

Open Up Communication

People like to feel as if their work makes a difference. This can be a difference in the world at large, or simply a difference for the person they are working for. It’s difficult to put in effort all day without understanding the reasons or seeing the results. Keep staff updated on your business’s successes and pitfalls, and make sure you let them know the results of projects they have personally worked on. Good communication builds trust and rapport. If you set a standard of openness, your employees will understand when something simply must be kept under wraps. 

Stock the Break Room 

Snacks in the break room can be a small but effective way to show that you care. A coffee machine is a good place to start; warm drinks offer comfort, and caffeine provides an energy boost to finish out the workday. To avoid the classic problem of burnt break-room coffee, try a Keurig brewing system. Single-serving Starbucks K-Cup pods let your employees brew themselves a cup when they need one, and don’t share the mess or cost of brewing an entire pot. Don’t forget to stock decaf pods too; everyone deserves something hot to drink. 

Fight for Employee Benefits 

To be an employee is to invest a large part of your time and energy into someone else’s business. The deal doesn’t have to be a bad one; as an employer, you have the opportunity to make a large difference in your employees’ lives. Look for ways that your business can provide benefits that staff would not be able to acquire on their own. This might include package insurance plans, vendor discounts, or even chances to travel. Working for your business should feel like an opportunity, not a cost. 

Encourage Career Growth 

If you’re the business owner, you’re likely already living your dream. Your business is a culmination of your career and the effort you have put in. On the other hand, your employees are likely at the start of their careers. As much as you enjoy seeing them every day, it’s important to remember that your staff want to grow and move forward in life. Try to provide opportunities for growth and success within your business. If an employee has a dream that will one day take them outside of your company, don’t be afraid to encourage them. The person you help go to school today could very easily be your industry contact of tomorrow. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to employee morale; what helps one person’s mood might make no impact on someone else. The best strategy is to set a standard of respect, communication, and care for your employees’ needs. If you have a good attitude, a good work environment will follow.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

5 Ways to Prevent Employee Burnout

Employee burnout is visible in numerous ways in all levels of your workplace hierarchy. It is most commonly associated with fatigued workers who work overtime regularly and who rarely take a day off. However, it can also be expressed in general job dissatisfaction, intense levels of stress, anger, cynicism or other negative emotions. Some workers may struggle with the inability to cope with seemingly minor stressors or inconveniences. As an employer, the impact of burnout can be felt throughout your operations. Burnout can result in decreased productivity and efficiency, a lower customer satisfaction rating, a declining employee retention rate and other consequences that you understandably want to avoid.

Understanding the Causes of Employee Burnout

Before you can determine the best ways to prevent employee burnout in your company, you need to understand its many causes. Long hours and long to-do lists are only some of several common causes. In many cases, multiple causes contribute to a serious issue rather than only one factor. For example, workers may also feel burnt out and overworked when they have too many responsibilities or when they lack the support and resources necessary to complete their tasks efficiently. Managerial oversight, conflicts with coworkers and other sources of stress may also contribute to burnout.

Effective Ways to Prevent Burnout in Your Workplace

Now that you understand what some of the many causes of employee burnout are, you can take smart steps to reduce its impact on your workforce. These are some of the more effective ways to prevent employee burnout in your workplace:

1. Assign a Realistic Workload

Managers are responsible for assigning a reasonable volume of work to each employee. Some managers see hardworking employees as workhorses who can handle more tasks than others. However, these individuals may work so hard or for longer hours than necessary because they feel intense stress and pressure to get their tasks completed. This stress is combined with an ever-expanding to-do list. Regardless of how efficient your employees seem to be, all employees should be assigned a realistic workload and should be able to complete their tasks within a reasonable number of hours each week.

2. Promote an Effective Work-Life Balance

Some employees may feel burnt out when they work too much and seemingly have minimal time to enjoy life on their own terms or to spend with family and friends. All employees should have ample time away from the office to exercise, to relax, to get an adequate amount of sleep at night, to tackle personal responsibilities and to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. To promote an effective work-life balance in your team, consider allowing telecommuting periodically. Allow your team to use their paid time off on their own terms and without guilt. Consider offering additional paid time off beyond what is considered to be standard as a perk.

3. Encourage Employees to Disconnect Regularly

Today’s workers are increasingly connected to work activities wherever they go. They may immediately feel stress related to work activities as soon as they wake up and look at their phone. Emails, text messages and more may require attention throughout most waking hours. Their commute to and from work, their lunch hour and their evenings may also be impacted by their connectedness. Essentially, they are always on-duty even during their time away from the office. While you understandably want to maximize the benefits of technology in the workplace, encourage your team to turn off their devices at reasonable hours and on their days off. Work tasks can usually wait until normal business hours.

4. Invest in Efficiency-Based Technology

Workers may easily feel overwhelmed by their to-do list when each task is a struggle to complete. Numerous technological innovations are available that can bolster efficiency and help your team members to be more effective in their positions. These innovations are related to communication, project management, collaboration and more. Talk to your team about aspects of their positions that they struggle with. Then, explore available technology that may improve their work lives dramatically. Because technology continues to be improved, walk through this important step periodically for ongoing benefits.

5. Incorporate Relevant Perks and Benefits

Adding strategic perks and benefits may also improve your workplace in substantial ways. There is a cost associated with some of these perks, but you may discover that the expense is recouped in meaningful ways. For example, you can bring in a massage therapist to give chair massages to your team one day each month. You may host a potluck lunch to break up the monotony of the workday. Create an employee-of-the-month system that gives one person a prime parking space each month. This provides your team with recognition for their hard work and contributions. Perks and benefits can each have different impacts on your team, so a smart idea is to create a full list of combined benefits. These may transform your workplace culture with incredible results.

If your team is feeling burnt out, there is a good chance that you are as well. It can be challenging to find time in your busy work schedule to focus on improving the lives of your team, but this is an essential step that requires ample attention. After all, everything from productivity to turnover, customer satisfaction and more are at stake. Consider taking small, steady steps toward improving your work environment in these and other effective ways. Your employees and your business will benefit from the effort.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters

Best Ways Managers Can Motivate Their Team

It’s hard to keep everything right on schedule when the office morale is low and people are slacking at half of their work capacities. According to Gallup, only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, 55% of them are unengaged and as many as 16% are actively disengaged. So, how do you get the other 71% to wake up? Simple, by following the instructions below:

Make it worth their while

No matter how interesting your employees’ job may be, sooner or later, their initial enthusiasm will fade, and they’ll feel like dogs chasing their tails. As a result, their productivity levels will drop, leaving you with a workforce operating at half-capacity. To avoid this, you need to constantly be raising the bar and setting new challenges for your employees. According to these statistics, 86% of millennials would keep their current positions if their employers provided them with career training and development, while 87% of them stated that professional development and career growth opportunities are very important. This could be anything ranging from specific job-related skills, languages, computer skills, and so on. In essence, by investing in your employees’ development, you’re effectively hitting two birds with one stone, as their newly acquired skills will keep them both motivated and more productive at the same time.

Provide them with regular feedback

Providing your employees with a steady stream of feedback will show them that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. According to PwC, 69% of employees stated that they would work harder if their efforts were better recognized. Give praise where praise is due and acknowledge all of your employees’ hard work to keep the morale afloat. Also, don’t hesitate to hand out constructive criticism to those employees who might be slightly under-performing, as 92% of people surveyed agreed that, when appropriately delivered, negative feedback is an effective performance booster. So, skip the dry formalities of the annual and quarterly reviews, and call up a meeting face to face. Just be wary, as some employees are more sensitive than others. Always give positive examples of their performance first, before criticizing them, in order to avoid hurting any egos.

Give out incentives

For some of your more competitive employees, a simple pat on the back simply won’t do. Instead, they’ll want a more formal sign of recognition for their troubles that they can share with their friends and families. Show them that you care and give them a master gift card, take them out for a fancy dinner, or offer them some paid time-off to spend with their loved ones. This will give them a sense of accomplishment that will motivate them to work even harder. Also, don’t forget to commemorate important milestones with your employees, both company and individual ones, as they are the ideal time for you to be generous and thoughtful.

‘Laissez-faire’

One of the worst possible things you could do inside the office, is to try and micro-manage each and every one of your employees. This is not only highly demotivational, but counter-productive at the same time, as frankly, no one likes having someone breathe down their neck while they’re working. What’s more, employees will get the opinion that you don’t trust them and as such lose confidence in their own abilities. Rather, what you should be doing is giving them some increased autonomy by letting them do things their way. Be flexible, let them organize their own schedules, don’t choke their creativity with unnecessary rules and regulations, and they’ll respect you more for it. According to this survey, 89% of companies reported better employee retention due to the implementation of flexible work options. So, focus your attention on more important matters, and cut your workers some slack every once in a while.

Create a positive working environment

Nurturing a healthy office atmosphere is vital for the overall productivity of your employees, and their mental well-being as well. Team-building events are an excellent way to break up the monotony of the daily grind and let your employees have a bit of harmless fun. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be something elaborate and expensive, but something as simple as a casual Friday, or a spontaneous night out. The most important thing, however, is that it’s something totally unrelated to work, as the main idea is for people to let off some steam and get their minds off work. All in all, these events present the perfect opportunity for your employees to bond with their co-workers and improve their mutual working relationships.

To sum up, different strategies appeal to different people. What works for one employee may not be the case with the rest of the lot. Therefore, it’s vital to keep experimenting with various combinations of these methods, in order to find just the right concoction for your specific workforce.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

5 ways to combat skilled labor shortage

Let’s face it, today, more than ever, every business owner struggles with the issue of skilled labor shortage sooner or later. There are just not enough people interested or qualified enough for certain jobs, and that can take a real toll on any business. When you’re missing skilled labor, you’refacing a decrease in productivity and quality. Soon, that can have disastrous consequences for your firm. That’s why it’s important to address this issue on time, and ensure your business prospers. Thankfully, there are a few ways to do this that won’t backfire and are guaranteed to work.

1. Educate students

Pairing up with universities or schools is a great way of investing in your future. The interest for your firm should be developed early, meaning you should inform those who are still in school. This way, they’ll keep your firm in mind as soon as they finish school and are likely to apply for a job. You’ll have to worry less about not having enough staff because you’ve made sure the future experts know to look for you.

Many schools are looking for firms to partner up with, so as to ensure their students have a bright future. That’s your chance to reach out to one and devise a program which benefits you both. By doing so, you’ll also be seen as a company which cares about its community and the people in it, which is a very appealing trait to potential employees. Show that you are there for your community, and it will help you in your time of need.

2. Only keep the tasks you absolutely need

The process of creating a certain product or delivering a certain service is a delicate one. It’s a coherent system with many steps, all ensuring you’ve got a quality service or product as the end result. When you’re missing skilled workers though, you need to cut the process short a little.

Make a priority list and only do the steps that are absolutely necessary. Everything that’s done just for appearances should be left out. This way, you’ll be saving time, and more importantly, the energy of the workers you do have. It’ll promote efficiency and productivity. What’s more, it’s a great way of still providing good services until you get the extra help you need.

3. Put your employees first

Even though you are suffering from a skilled labor shortage and your employees have to work double to make up for that, remember that they’re people too. That means you shouldn’t overwork them and expect them to be able to cover all the positions. After all, you wouldn’t need more workers if your employees could do it all.

Instead of trying to make them pick up the slack and just filling slots, make sure they know you appreciate their efforts. If you’re not kind to them and don’t pay attention to their needs and well-being, it can lead to more people quitting and then you’ll be in an even bigger mess.Showing your workforce you appreciate them even in these troublesome times will help them stay motivated and pull-through. Together, you’ll be able to face this problem head on and come up with the best solution.

4. Opt for foreign workers

Importing your workforce can also be one of the options. Sometimes there just aren’t enough skilled workers in your country. In fact, more and more first world countries are choosing this option as a way to combat the shortage, Australia being one of them. Though, you need to be careful, because immigration laws are complex and often difficult to understand.

You can be sure the most informed immigration lawyer in Sydney will testify to that. That’s why it’s always advisable to talk to one before you decide to take any actual steps in bringing foreign people into the country. Every informed decision is a good decision.

5. Up your marketing strategy to a new level

Sometimes the problem with short staff is that people don’t even know you’re hiring, or what your firm is about. This is a question of a poor marketing strategy, but luckily, it can be easily solved. In this age of technology, you should make your company present on social media.

That way you’ll be up to date and will be able to connect with potential employees more easily. People will also know more about your company and are likely to be interested in working there. Even though it seems that social media is just for fun, it can actually be quite useful for things like this, too. In fact, there are a lot of professional social networks you can check out.

Conclusion

As you can see, not having enough skilled workforce doesn’t have to take a toll on your business. The important thing is to stay determined and motivated, and soon, your business will flourish. Hiring those who are good at their job promotes positive energy all around and, in turn, makes for very productive and confident workers. Never settle for less than your company deserves, so always hire the best of the best.

Daniel Brown is a law graduate and a passionate blogger from Sydney. His areas of interest are alternative dispute resolution and its applicability in different fields of law, IP law and resolution of disputes arising from intellectual property infringement and commerce law