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5 Priceless (and Free) Ways to Provide Employee Recognition

In today's labor market, attracting and retaining engaged employees is becoming increasingly difficult. The challenge is real and perhaps even more so in the contact center world.  How's this for a job description?

"We want you to take calls from strangers who will frequently be upset. They won't know you, but that won't stop them from taking their frustration and anger out on you.  And in spite of your best efforts, they may never be satisfied with your attempts to help them.  Oh, and you get to do this 35+ times a day."

Free employee recognition

No wonder employee churn is an issue in the contact center world. Because of this, organizations are getting creative with efforts to provide the most desirable work environment possible.  But in their search for innovative approaches, organizations may be overlooking one of the most easily executed strategies - employee recognition!

A recent Gallup study indicated only three out of ten employees strongly agree they have received recognition for a job well done.  No wonder so many employees feel underappreciated.  That same study showed that employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to quit within the next 11 months.

Churn. Turnover. Attrition. Lost productivity. Increased costs.  Solution? Enter employee recognition!

Leaders would be wise to utilize sincere recognition initiatives to make their employees feel valued and to remind them how important their work is to the organization.  That level of recognition has also been found to increase overall productivity and drive loyalty to the company, reducing attrition.

Join Bill this November 12-14 at ICMI Contact Center Demo. He'll be participating in session 504: Answers to Your Burning Contact Center Questions.

But what kind of recognition is most effective?  Gallup asked employees what form of recognition meant the most, and here's how things stacked up:

  • Public recognition via an award, certificate, or some commendation
  • Private recognition from a boss, peer, or customer
  • Receiving a level of achievement through an evaluation or review
  • Promotion, or an increase in the scope of work and responsibility
  • Monetary award such as a bonus, pay increase, or a trip

Did you notice that money is at the bottom of this list?  Leaders who understand the value of simple, public recognition--and use it--are more likely to create the type of positive work environment that retains good employees.  With that in mind, let me share a few methods I've found effective.

  1. Handwritten notes - There's power in the pen, folks.  And if you really want to amp this up, give your employee a thank you card, and then send one to their spouse, partner, significant other, or the entire family!
  2. Public shout out - The next time you have the team, department, or entire organization together, take a moment to recognize the efforts and outcomes of deserving employees verbally.  They will walk away from that meeting a bit taller and ready to get back into battle on behalf of the organization!
  3. Outside awards - There are lots of opportunities throughout the year to submit the names of your valued employees for award recognition outside of the organization. And they don't even need to win the award to gain motivational currency, but it's a bonus if they do! One example? The ICMI Movers & Shakers program, which is now accepting nominations!
  4. Workstation praise - I love this one. It's so easy and yet so very powerful.  Go directly to the employee's workstation and take a moment to thank them for their work. Be specific about something they did that you genuinely appreciate.  You can do this quietly, but trust me; word will spread as if you shouted out the praise while standing atop a desk!
  5. Special assignment - Sounds strange, but trust me on this. Employees are grateful to be entrusted with a special project--something outside their regular responsibilities. This is also a great way to see if the employee is ready for an opportunity to advance.  And, again, the entire workforce will make a note of this and feel energized.

Acknowledging an employee's best work goes a long way toward creating a sense of being valued and generates other desirable outcomes as well!  Great leaders know they can never provide too much honest, well-deserved recognition!

How do you recognize your team members? Share your best tips in the comments.