Storm cloudsImagine this… You’ve left the house for another day at the office. Feeling groggy, you sprint like Usain Bolt to the train station or you’ll be late. A passing bus splashes a puddle of grimy water all over your fancy new work shoes. You finally get to work and stick the kettle on, gasping for caffeine – yet someone had the last of the coffee. Did I mention it’s Monday?

If your morning wasn’t bad enough, now you have 8 hours of being barraged by emails, exceptional customer service to deliver and efficient spreadsheets to look forward to – but you do it. You paint on that game face, power on through and tackle whatever is thrown your way because you’re great at your job – you’re an efficient and professional team member.

We’ve all had days like these, days where although we’d rather be at home, we hit the ground running at work instead to tick everything (and more) off our ‘To Do List’ but there’s no ‘thank you!’ or ‘great job!’ to be heard, just the click clicking of mice, the tap tapping of keys and the frequent moans from the glass office in the corner.

Wanting recognition for your hard work doesn’t make you a goody-two-shoes. In fact – studies show that 47% of employees say they left their last employer due to lack of recognition or a negative company culture.

‘Anybody can be replaced’ you say? Well replacing an employee costs dosh and I don’t just mean to cover their salary. There’s a number of sneaky costs to take into consideration. For example, you may have a figure in mind for your new employee’s yearly income – but have you given leeway for their National Insurance Contributions? Have you thought about their total amount of actual productive hours after their annual leave / sick leave / training? *Cue hay bale*

A report conducted by Oxford Economics shows that it can take a new employee approximately 28 weeks to get up to speed. This alone has an attached cost of over £25,000. This figure, combined with all the logistical costs including interviewing, advertising and more, can total to over £30,000 per employee. *Cue jaw hitting floor*. Lets’ take a minute for that to sink in.

On the back of these findings, Linda Smith, HR Director of Unum says,

‘£30,614 is a startling amount, and I would encourage businesses to place more emphasis on retaining talent and developing good staff to reduce the cost of staff turnover’

So, if you’re the big boss type, giving your employees recognition is not a sign of weakness – in fact – it could save you money.

It’s proven that employees respond to appreciation of their good work as it confirms their work is valued and well…nobody wants to feel like the extra button you get when you buy a new shirt.

By giving employees recognition, they are more likely to repeat the behaviour that earned it. This leads to a confidence boost, which will ultimately improve your employee’s productivity. In fact, after a survey, 30% of companies saw an increase in employee productivity vs 1% who saw a decline after implementing recognition in the workplace.

However, even though it’s important to tell your staff when they’ve done something fantastic – you want to be honest. Telling somebody their cake tastes lovely if they forgot the flour might save their feelings, but they’ll do the same thing again and again. You want to recognise actions that genuinely make a difference or a breakthrough, so when someone really embodies your company’s motto or principles – give them a high 5!

Recognition shows that you genuinely care about the progress of your employees and each time they receive praise, they’ll more likely strive further to hear another compliment. However, this positive reinforcement doesn’t always have to be in the form of words. Something as simple as a bunch of flowers, buying them a lottery ticket or even crowning them King/Queen for the day at the morning meeting with a bejewelled crown can have a lasting effect. Going this extra mile not only gives employees something to look forward to and aim for, but it’s a cheap, easy way to show your team you care.

Humans have egos – fact. We like praise, we like compliments and we definitely like treats.

So, how do we measure employee recognition?

Firstly, companies can encourage more peer to peer recognition as this makes the general working environment happier and more relaxed. Work doesn’t have to be a competition, you’re a team who work together to take your industry by storm – help each other out! If they do well, you do well. Easy peasy!

Secondly, employee engagement surveys have proven effective among some companies – why not give this a go? It doesn’t have to be long winded or extensive – you just need to figure out what it is you want to gain from the survey. Questions could be as simple as:

“On a scale of 1 – 10, how often are you recognised when you do great work?’

Surveys can be anonymous to generate accurate findings and based on the results, you’re more informed to make an educated decision of how to move forward. Take the time to process the information you gather and take action! It’s often that companies don’t know they have issues regarding employee recognition until they start asking about it.

Lastly, you need to know your staff – figure out how they’d like to be recognised. Is it in front of everybody at the morning brief, a one-on-one meeting, or would they prefer an award?

An award doesn’t have to mean a bonus in next month’s wage or a night away in the Lakes. Awards can be as simple as handing over more responsibility to show you trust that person in the work place. Help them grow with the company and support them when they reach their goals.

At the end of the day, people want to feel valued and needed. Especially at work. So, the answer is simple – more recognition = more employee happiness.

BUT, if all else fails…

Worldwide Employee Recognition Day is on March 6th 2015. It’s already in my diary – what about yours?

*See Below for 101 ways to creatively recognise your employees along with other helpful info*

Employee Appreciation Day

HR Review

Tiny HR

Accounting Services for Business

American Express

Natasha Calder

Account Executive at Eye Candy – Provider of promotional staff, brand ambassadors, models and other fine events and marketing related stuff.