Recognition Should Be at the Core of Keeping Your Best Employees

Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognition - Keeping Employees Engaged and Motivated

The best companies have extensive recognition programs that make it IMPOSSIBLE for their best talent to leave.

Best practices in recognition include specific programs at the individual, team, department, and team level.

Recognition and non-monetary rewards should be a key element of your culture, where you celebrate individual, team, and company performance. The rewards should include praise, feedback, opportunities for learning and development, and achievement awards.

Recogition and Rewards to Engage and Motivate EmployeesDo you have an extensive set of recognition and non-monetary rewards that bring outstanding talent to your organization, AND prevent recruiters from poaching your best people?

Have you benchmarked what comparable companies do for recognition?

Do you collect competitive information when interviewing candidates? Do you ask them what recognition programs they are eligible for – and which ones they’ve been awarded?

Have you posed this question about “what other companies do” to your HR and benefit consultants, or labor law attorneys?

Have you researched the on-line libraries in your trade group or association for best practice information around recognition programs?

There is a wealth of content on the web, including in our website, various HR portals, bloggers, and associations on how to craft, design, implement, and execute an outstanding non-monetary rewards and recognition program.

Perhaps, in my next few blog postings, we’ll break down each of the key elements of a great employee recognition program, and I’ll identify some of the best resources I’ve discovered over the last decade.

In my conversations with thousands of professionals and high school athletes (I coach high school girls basketball), everyone wants to be recognized for a job well done. Are you providing this most basic human need?

Barry Deutsch

 

Have you used our 8-Point Retention Matrix to verify you’re doing everything you can do to keep your best people?  If not, click hear to download this self-assessment tool for checking your retention capability score.

Praise is a POWERFUL Motivator for your team

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Studies show that employees perform at a higher level when praised for doing a great job, or going beyond the call of duty.

I don’t want to play closet psychologist, but we all know this to be true. When playing a sport in high school, we wanted to do well so that our coach would praise us in front of our peers, we would get recognition from our teachers, our parents would give us a pat on the back and a heartfelt “I’m proud of you.” Who wouldn’t want to be praised?

We can look to the work done by Abraham Maslow on the Hierarchy of Needs that employees have – one he pointed to was  recognition from superiors/authority on a job well done.

As a high school girls basketball coach over the last decade, I’ve noticed that my teams perform at a much higher level when players are praised for doing things well instead of making mistakes. Just today this point got driven home again:

 

I asked one of my former players who had graduated from my team to a higher level team in our program She had gone from being a rock star on my team to the bottom of the totem pole on the higher level team. I asked her why she had become so quiet, reserved, cautious, and timid when playing on this new team.

Her response:

Coach Barry, my new coach yells at me every time I make a mistake. I’m afraid of making a mistake. He scares me because he gets so angry. All he ever does is criticize what we do. I’ve never heard him tell me in the last year anything positive.

 

boss_beating_fist_on_his_desk_hg_whtDoesn’t that story want to make you cry? What if that was you? What if it was one of your kids? Imagine how your employees feel when all you do is criticize them and seek out every little mistake to call to their attention, humiliate them in front of their peers, and basically rip them a new one by threatening them about their job security.

Do you think maybe their confidence might be down a little? Do you think they’re going to give you their best effort?

If they are good performer, they’ve already got one foot out the door since top talent doesn’t need your job. And when they lose respect for their immediate boss, they can’t wait to leave. They always have great opportunities knocking on their door.

If they are below the top talent level, they just become ROAD Warriors: Retired On Active Duty. You’ll never get an ounce of productivity from them again. They basically shut down.

So, here’s my key question:

What type of formal programs does your company have in place to provide praise as the most important element of a non-monetary reward and recognition system?

If your company is like most other companies, then praise is something that’s basically left up to each individual manager to do as he/she sees fit. We all know that being crowned with that manager title, instantly makes you a great motivator of people.

Okay, if you don’t believe that – why is praise, recognition, and non-monetary rewards systems absent in most companies?

When will you start researching, benchmarking, and implementing praise into your recognition programs to start raising employee motivation?

Have you used our 8-Point Retention Matrix to verify you're doing everything you can do to keep your best people?  If not, click hear to download this self-assessment tool for checking your retention capability score.

Barry Deutsch

What is Employee Engagement AND do you have it?

Employees Engaged in their jobs at YOUR company

Could you define employee engagement?

Can you measure it?

Do you have specific programs and initiatives in place to improve or build employee engagement?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, you're in big trouble with your workforce.

I define employee engagement as employees who are excited to come to work, are learning new skills and capabilities, are intellectually stimulated through challenging work, expectations, and assignments. They get praised when they do an outstanding job, and they are recognized by their peers for going above and beyond the call of duty. They wouldn't think of leaving your company for greener pastures, even if they got a 10-15% salary boost. They have a clear understanding of your well-articulated culture and vision, and buy into with all their heart. They are passionate about what your company does, and the role they play. Your employee surveys, 360 degree reviews, and monthly performance coaching confirms that you've got an engaging culture.

How do you define it?

If you have a large percentage of your workforce, especially your better performers, who are not engaged – then prepare yourself for the upcoming flood of talent leaving your organization.

Companies that recognize the importance of an engaged workforce have specific programs in place. They can talk about during an interview. They can reinforce to retain great talent. It allows them to “recruiter-proof” their company.

What employee engagement programs, initiatives, and tactics have you implemented to create an engaged workforce?

Barry Deutsch

Let’s NOT train our staff so they’ll get picked off for better jobs

Are providing enough training and development to keep your employees engaged?

 

I was conducting our Speaker Program on retention titled “You’re the Person I WANT to Keep” and we were at the section on discussing how training and development is a powerful element of employee satisfaction and engagement.

One of the CEOs in the room blurts out “Why should we train our people – we’re just preparing them to be stolen by our competitors”

I was so stunned at this remark, I was for once at a loss for words. Then, an even bigger shocker took place: Some of the other CEOs in the room actually started nodding their heads in agreement.

What have to come to where we are so afraid of our employees leaving, that we're willing to lock them in the basement, put our thumb down on top of them, and crush their future capability?

Is this perspective dysfunctional or what?

NOT training your employees is a sure way to lose them. NOT providing opportunities for learning, development, and personal growth is one of the major reasons 50% of your workforce is logging onto job boards trying to see if the grass is greener somewhere else.

Training the heck out of your workforce is one of the best ways to “recruiter-proof” your company. I know you’ll lose a few people over time to competitors; however, you’ll keep a far larger group.

Perhaps, most importantly, the value training brings extends far beyond just keeping people. Your workforce becomes more skilled, knowledgeable, and capable than all your competitors. Productivity goes up. I can’t begin to quantify the value of a well-trained workforce.

What’s your training investment? How much of every revenue dollar goes to training? Does every employee have a personal development plan for formal training, e-courses, webinars, projects, on-the-job skill training?

When you are planning on making training one of the core elements of your culture?

Barry Deutsch

Do Your Managers Make Your Employees Miserable

Toxic Boss Screaming at Subordinate

As an executive recruiter, one of the most common reasons I hear from candidates of why they are looking to leave their current role is: My Boss sucks! Obviously, I’ve paraphrased a little.

The actual comments go like this:

My boss doesn’t give a darn about me as a person

She’s always nit-picking at everything I do

I feel like my boss is always looking over my shoulder

Everything I do gets “second-guessed”

I get NO respect

I don’t trust my boss

He keeps the most interesting projects for himself

My boss plays favorites. There are two people who always get the best assignments or “let off the hook” when they make mistakes

My boss never has anything positive to say to me – everything is negative

He has humiliated me in staff meetings when we could have discussed an issue in a private session

I feel like a mushroom all the time – my boss continually keeps me in the dark – I never get to see the big picture – only the little amounts of information he decides to filter to me

She has unreasonable expectations and is cold-hearted

I’ve learned very little from my current boss – far less than anyone else I’ve worked for before her

The work I am assigned feels like busy work. I don’t think I have any substantial impact around here. I could be gone – and it wouldn’t make a difference

I am so frustrated with my current boss – I have to find other things to do outside of work just to keep my sanity.

How can everyone be so blind as to how bad my manager is – I don’t understand how he got this job

The most frequent lunch conversation is over the stupid things our boss says and does – she’s a joke

 

Are these the words and phrases your staff uses behind your back? Do they confide in you about your peers, your boss, or their supervisors with these phrases?

When I ask CEOs this question, most of them just shrug their shoulders as if “not my problem”. But it is your problem. Your culture is determined by what you’re wiling to tolerate. Do you tolerate mercurial managers, toxic supervisors, and executives who are clueless about leading top talent? Everyone claims they want to hire and retain great people – but that’s an impossible goal if you’ve got managers and executives who make your employees miserable.

When was the last time you “graded” your executives and managers on how they lead, develop, grow, mentor, empower, engage, motivate, turn on, and extract the best performance possible from their team? OR is it better to just ignore these issues and limp through hoping for better results. A huge element of employee satisfaction and consequently, company performance, is the level of trust between an employee and their boss. If you have supervisors, managers, and executives incapable of developing deep trust with their staff, you’re in big trouble.

Is it time to step back and confront reality that some of your supervisors, managers, and executives are not effective at leading their teams?

 

Barry Deutsch

PS – Give me a call or email me to take advantage of our 10 minute leadership assessment to determine if your organization is capable to producing high performing teams. You should only call or email me if you’re prepared for the hard steps of changing the culture of your organization to attract and retain top talent.