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“If we send out a press release about employees’ professional accomplishments, the competition will try to steal them from us.”

“If we recognize one employee, it just causes disgruntlement among all the others.”

“We don’t do employee of the month anymore. The same people kept being nominated over and over.”

These are just a few of the reasons business leaders have given us over the years for why they avoid employee recognition or rewards, like Employee of the Month, or annual employee banquets, or P.R. efforts.

Are those legitimate concerns? Absolutely. But they’re also symptomatic of much deeper challenges with company culture and employee engagement. And those challenges are likely holding you back in a myriad of ways that affect not just employee morale, engagement or management effectiveness, but also your bottom line:

  • Highly engaged employees are 38 percent more likely to have above-average levels of productivity*
  • Companies with highly engaged employees and strong company culture have experienced a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover*
  • Disengaged employees cost US businesses an estimated $500 billion each year – through turnover, decreased productivity, poor customer service and more*
  • On average, companies with highly engaged workforces are proven to be 22% more profitable than those without*

The potential repercussions of NOT recognizing employees for their successes can be significantly more damaging to your business than any you’ll face from celebrating a job well done. Productivity will be lower. Burn out will be higher, as will turnover. Employee morale is likely to suffer, along with customer service.

Whether it matters to company leadership or not, it does matter to employees. In a recent study, employee recognition was identified as the No. 1 thing managers can do to support their teams.** The key to making that recognition successful and beneficial to the company as a whole is ensuring it’s implemented consistently, with clear expectations and goals that align with internal culture as a whole. A few examples of that:

  • Tie it to company values; recognize employees for exemplifying those values and supporting your organization’s mission or vision
  • Reward employees for helping the company reach milestones or annual goals, whether that’s revenue-based, sales-based or centered around other measurable KPIs
  • Provide employee feedback and recognition consistently and regularly – showing your appreciation once a year isn’t enough

When done well, employee recognition is a key component of a strong culture, helping employees stay engaged with company values and goals. So don’t hold back out of fear – it’ll cost you more in the end.

Wondering how your current culture stacks up? Take our online culture assessment to diagnosis potential pitfalls.

*Gallup, KornFerr, Hays
** Octanner