Employers who implement effective service awards programs find their employees more engaged and productive. Even the smallest gestures of appreciation add value to your relationship with staff. Here, Mark Kelly, Founder and President of Safety Marking Inc. in Bridgeport, CT, explains how to structure effective employee service award programs.
The premise of any good employee recognition program is that workers appreciate being recognized for their performance and in doing so will increase employee morale and decrease turnover. Employee turnover is very costly. This is especially true for companies like Safety Marking, Inc. that invest heavily in employee training and development. Every time an employee leaves the organization, they take with them the training they received and create the need to train their replacement. The productivity lost while sourcing a replacement, onboarding time and expense, and training costs all affect profitability.
An employee awards program does not need to be expensive. While every employee appreciates a valuable gift in acknowledgment of their work performance, most companies cannot afford such grand gestures. An inexpensive yet frequent acknowledgment will improve employee performance more than infrequent, larger gifts.
Some ideas to consider when structuring an employee service award program include:
- Praise:This can include verbal praise or a handwritten thank you note. In most cases, public recognition is more effective than private acknowledgment.
- Additional responsibility:By rewarding an employee with extra responsibilities, they feel more accomplished, and your organization benefits as well. This process is a natural way to elevate the most dedicated and talented employees.
- Gift cards:Small tokens of appreciation that have monetary value are great inexpensive motivators. Employees will appreciate the monetary value, but even more so the acknowledgment.
- Additional flex or comp time:Giving employees more time with their families in the form of paid time off or even more flexible hours will be much appreciated.
When structuring an employee recognition program, there are three vital aspects to consider. These include timeliness, relevance & specificity, and fairness & consistency.
Behavior modification studies show that the amount of time that passes between desirable behavior and the reward for that behavior should be as small as possible. Immediacy is essential when deciding what compensation is appropriate for specific actions and how that reward will be administered. For example, an employee who goes above and beyond to help a customer on the phone may best be rewarded with a quick thank-you note. However, a reward for successfully completing a significant project might best be acknowledged at the quarterly, or even annual, company meeting. Both the size or significance and the timeliness of the reward are essential.
Relevance & Specificity
Employees must understand the relevance of the goals they are asked to achieve. Specifying the precise company objective and how that objective translates into success for the organization removes all ambiguity about the plan and justifies the reward. For example, an employee who excels at fielding inbound customer service calls and thereby earns a prize may not clearly understand the connection between the number of calls they handled and its profitability. For example, if they understand that by fielding 150 or more calls (specificity) each week, they save the company $1,000 per year (relevance).
Fairness & Consistency
Nothing will ruin a company service awards program faster than the perception that it is administered unfairly. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to explicitly define the goals and ensure that everyone who deserves an award receives it. If employees believe that only the boss’s “pet” employees receive awards, morale will disintegrate, and your program will be counterproductive.
About Safety Marking, Inc.
Safety Marking Inc. of Bridgeport, CT is a family-owned business founded by Mark Kelly in 1973 to provide pavement marking services in Fairfield County, Connecticut. After almost five decades of service and growth, Safety Marking Inc. is now a nationally respected leader in pavement markings with offices in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York. The company’s success is based on premium-quality service, innovation, continuous development, and philanthropic involvement with the community.