text saying great job!

by Amy Jenkins | March 2, 2020

Employee Appreciation Day is a day when Internal Comms and HR teams everywhere are hosting events and activities to recognize and celebrate their employees. I’m all for organizations celebrating this day, but it’s important that IC pros don’t turn Employee Appreciation Day into the Hallmark holiday of Internal Comms. 

A recent Inc. Magazine article highlights the importance of recognizing employees regularly and the consequences of not starting this daily habit. According to a survey featured in the article, the third-highest reason for employee turnover is a lack of recognition. Another eye-opening statistic from the article was that “71 percent of respondents in executive roles call employee engagement very important to achieving organizational business goals. Behavior that gets recognized gets repeated, which is why actions that improve organizational alignment, innovation, service, and growth should be recognized every day (HBR).”

This is a basic principle that we learn as children – Positive Reinforcement, which is when a reward is given in exchange for good or correct behavior. Kids know, if their parent says ‘do your chores’ and they do them, they may be rewarded with an allowance. And parents understand that if they want good behavior from their kids, they have to practice some form of recognition to reinforce good behavior. So, why is it that in the working world recognition is lacking? It seems like as soon as you become an adult, people stop saying “thank you.” You’re expected to come to work and give it your all, but you lose the recognition that you’d grown accustomed to. This means that a lot of people don’t ever hear “good job” or “thank you” for being a valued member of the organization even though we know this only leads to increased employee engagement, performance, work ethic, and loyalty. 

It doesn’t require a large financial investment to implement an employee recognition program. You can start simply by asking leaders and managers to say thank you more often or recognize employees for their effort and commitment in a weekly meeting. The public praise of a job well done can go a long way toward driving employee satisfaction and the overall employee experience. 

Let’s get back to basics and remember how it felt to have someone acknowledge your effort and the results of that positive feeling. So, Instead of just focusing big budgets and dedicating weeks of time preparing for one employee appreciation event, how about putting that time and money toward creating sustainable recognition programs that last year round? Instead of creating this swell of positive feelings on just one day, consider creating that feeling across the organization every day for employees.

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