Employee engagement is essential to the success of an organization. Studies by industry experts show that engaged employees work harder, are more motivated, provide better customer service and have lower turnover rates. The bottom line — engagement has a profound effect on an organization’s performance.
That’s why it’s so surprising that only 13% of employees today are truly engaged at work. According to the 2013 Gallup Global Workforce Report, 87% of the global workforce has engagement levels that leave room for improvement. The report points out actively disengaged employees — those who are emotionally disconnected or hostile toward their employer — outnumber engaged employees at a rate of nearly 2 to 1. And that trend is growing.
In the midst of these startling statistics, there is good news to share. It turns out that when employees feel truly valued and appreciated, they work harder. That’s why one of the best ways to drive engagement is to implement a recognition program. According to the 2015 Workplace Trends Report, in addition to promoting higher engagement, recognition programs yield 21% higher retention rates, 27% higher profits, and 50% higher sales. Now that’s a great return on investment.
The best way to optimize a recognition program is to design one that is consistent, fair and represents your corporate values. When implemented on a global scale, the program should be tailored to meet the unique cultural and generational needs and preferences of your employee base. Keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Implement uniform, company-wide reward and recognition strategies that are paired with clear objectives tailored to drive desired behaviors.
- Know your employees and be aware of their cultural and generational preferences. The instant text message that motivates a Millennial employee could easily frustrate a Baby Boomer who prefers recognition delivered in person.
- Know your surroundings and understand that each country has laws and regulations that affect employee compensation. Working with a recognition provider with operations around the globe can avoid legal issues.
- Achieve the right balance between monetary and non-monetary awards. A range of rewards, from e-cards, to events to products and gift cards is ideal to satisfy today’s workforce.
- Communicate effectively and cross culturally to convey the messages of recognition and drive participation. Globalized, multi-lingual technology can provide translations that maintain the program’s intent. Infographics or other visuals help drive home the message.
- Implement the right technology to ensure that consistent company-wide administration can be easily tailored to local specifications.
Companies have long known that recognition and reward programs encourage desired behaviors, motivating employees to perform at their best. Global organizations must be mindful of the ways in which their workforce differs culturally, generationally and individually. Companies that customize their recognitions programs to understand those differences can reap the extraordinary benefits of a highly engaged, productive and committed workforce.
Mia Mends is Sodexo CEO of Benefits & Rewards, US.