According to the 2020 Employee Experience Trends by global firm Qualtrics, Singapore’s employee engagement score — at 47% — falls below the global average of 53%. Employers regularly asking for and acting on feedback were among the significant drivers of engagement, the survey noted. Especially in times of uncertainty, creating such channels is necessary to provide for employees who find themselves requiring greater assistance to protect their physical and psychological health.
This was evident in the recent awards accorded to the best workplaces in Singapore for 2020, where employers took key steps to take care of their employees’ well-being beyond the work setting. Providing for their employees is indeed important to foster a positive work culture — employees are cared for each day and come to work knowing that they have their superiors and fellow teammates to rely upon when they need help. What completes this experience is timely employee recognition.
What does recognition mean in the workplace?
One of the other key drivers of employee engagement the Qualtrics survey revealed was recognition for good work. By definition, employee recognition refers to the timely acknowledgement – informal or formal – of a worker’s effort and achievement aligned with the organisational goals and values.
Undoubtedly, appreciation is essential in any workplace and significantly contributes to employee retention rates. In fact, employees are more likely to leave a company if they do not feel appreciated at all. Appreciation is fundamental to any human — one gets confirmation, through recognition, that his/her work is being valued and that it plays a big role in organisational success.
With consistent recognition, employers can create a culture of appreciation among employees who are more willing to believe that their employers find their contributions significant to the company. In other words, they are critical actors for organisational growth, and they come to work every day knowing that their work is important. Having a work culture centred on recognition allows to further strengthen the workforce. Knowing that their employers appreciate their work even in times of crises or uncertainties is good motivation for employees to press on towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
How do you show employee recognition?
There are several ways to show employee recognition. Building a culture of appreciation requires team effort, involving peers, supervisors and top leaders.
Employees with good working relationships feel more committed and empowered at work. Akin to a ‘second family’, having great co-workers by their side helps them look forward to work each day. Taking this a notch higher is inculcating a culture of peer-to-peer recognition where teammates commend one another on their achievements, those that may have gotten unnoticed by their immediate managers. One way companies can foster this is by providing employees with a platform for ease of communication. For instance, an internal social media account such as Facebook’s Workplace app connects employees across all departments just like a regular Facebook account. Members can upload commendations or wishes for fellow employees online for the rest to see and who will then further recognise the achievements. Such informal methods of employee recognition can go a long way in building a positive work culture on the ground.
One of the best ways to create a culture of appreciation among employees is to lead by example. Supervisors who oversee teams can observe their team members’ progress and actively recognise their hard work over the months or years. Employees who are commended by their supervisors will feel appreciated and valued, and are more likely to stay on the job. They can also empower their co-workers to work as hard and make them feel proud of their work. There are various ways to execute this — there could be monthly team gatherings to recognise top-performing members, or even messages of encouragement or appreciation on a daily basis to empower members every day.
Organisations can also provide formal recognition to well-deserving teams or individuals to reward them for their contributions and performance. This offers a sense of pride to employees or teams who feel valued for the work they have done for the company. Such forms of employee recognition can occur by way of annual events, where the company rewards teams for successful projects and individuals on their yearly performance or even recognise their long service with the organisation.