Alex Olley, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Accessibility desk
The big layoff. Somewhere, a recruiter just moaned. More than 40 million people left their jobs in 2021. Why?
People are the heart of the organization. They are the ones who move the business forward and make or break the customer experience. And right now, many are leaving companies because they feel unappreciated. While many employers believe that insufficient compensation is the cause of the large layoffs, McKinsey study found that employees value a sense of belonging and appreciation more than their employers realize.
One of the main reasons people leave their jobs is that lack of recognition and appreciation – two problems that are increasingly difficult to solve, especially amid the changing workplace. Socialization and recognition — think free lunches and birthday celebrations — were much easier in person.
Now leaders must think creatively to connect and celebrate employees in dispersed locations. This is part of the reason why my company, a gift platform, has seen an increase in employee gift giving in recent years. An employee gift program can be a useful tool for hybrid or completely remote businesses to reward and recognize employees. However, a gift program is just a start; companies need to create a culture of appreciation.
I believe the solution to the Great Surrender is the “Great Recognition”.
What is the ‘Great Recognition’?
The Great Recognition is an internal movement that aims to recognize, understand and reward the value that employees – individually and collectively – add to the company. It is a step towards creating a culture of appreciation.
Creating a culture of appreciation is much more than setting up a single program; it means integrating the practice of continuous employee recognition into the company’s core values. Whether it’s gifting employees or training managers to align their styles with different employees, building employee recognition into your culture takes intent and investment.
This investment does not come without a reward. Companies that place more emphasis on valuing their employees see improvements in retention, motivation and productivity†
So, now that we know that a culture of employee appreciation is arguably one of the most important elements in winning the battle for talent and retention, how can you build that culture?
1. Invest in employee experience like you invest in customer experience.
Customer experience programs are usually carefully planned and well-rounded to make the customer feel special. The same attention and care should also be channeled into employee experience programs. Figure out where your organization should start with a budget in mind and gradually move up when it makes sense. Honor someone when they have achieved a certain goal or when you want a colleague to know that they are appreciated.
2. Understand the context of appreciation.
Appreciation is not one-size-fits-all. One employee may prefer personal praise, while another may crave public recognition. But more importantly, context is key. When context is taken into account, you create moments that matter. Appreciation isn’t necessarily about gifts or praise. It’s about taking the employee into account – their experiences and interests.
3. Encourage peer recognition and appreciation.
Who better to understand and celebrate the daily victories than a colleague? Encourage your employees to recognize and praise their colleagues, rather than leaving it to a manager. You could even give them a list of ideas to help their team member.
4. Keep learning and improving.
As with any new initiative, be open to feedback and continuous improvement. Something may not work as well as you thought; work together to find a better solution† Distribute surveys or create a suggestion box and adjust your approach based on what you hear.
There are many ways to create a culture of appreciation in your company. The Great Recognition is not a one-time event or a single initiative; it is a way of working that builds employee recognition into the corporate culture. Don’t wait until employee appreciation day to show your employees how much you care about them. Because if you do, you risk losing your best people and scrambling to attract top talent.
People are the most critical element of your organization and you should treat them as such.