It's probably safe to assume that you're reading this because you're looking for ways to drive employee performance. Common sense tells you that employee awards are a good way to do that. And that's true, for the most part.
But if employee motivation were really that simple, you could promise a bonus for your top producers, turn your employees loose and sit back to wait for the results to pour in. The reality is more complicated, but it's also more promising. At their most effective, employee awards actually drive performance that reaches from your most productive team members to the newest and least experienced. This works in several ways.
Encourage Engagement and Ownership
As tangible recognition for a job well-done, employee awards are one key to increased engagement across the organization.For one thing, they're a great way to recognize and reinforce the behavior you want to see in your employees.
As you'd expect, recognition has also been found to significantly increase performance in the people being recognized. What may surprise you, however, is that most of that performance increase comes from people who weren't recognized.
It turns out that providing positive feedback for performance contributes to a culture of recognition that influences almost every aspect of an organization's activity and gives employees a real stake in its performance.
Increase Employee Retention
One of the major HR trends of recent years is early recognition in place of more traditional employee awards for years of service. When that's combined with other kinds of awards like recognition for specific achievements, companies are able to increase retention and productivity while they reduce the costs of recruiting and turnover.
One of the major pluses of employee awards is their ability to help your organization weather transitions, problems and challenges like economic downturns. Situations like those can take a heavy toll on employee morale. Employees tend to feel uncertain and undervalued, which creates a big hit to productivity.
Employee awards are precisely the kinds of tools that can help your organization survive moments like those. It's no coincidence that following the 2009 recession, 75% of HR managers maintained their recognition programs, and 5% increased their budgets while other company departments were slashing costs.
Employee Awards: Increase Performance
Employee recognition programs tend to reward past performance, often for a single accomplishment. That's fine when you're pointing individuals at specific goals.
Their effectiveness is harder to measure when you're aiming to increase performance throughout the enterprise. But in one recent study, the companies that were best at employee recognition were 12 times more likely to generate strong business results. Which suggests that consistent employee awards also influence future behavior.
Ultimately, of course, employee awards are a way to say "thank you for all you do." Expressing that consistently, regularly and personally is one of the most effective things you can do to reward your business.