Employee Recognition

Square Peg, Round Hole: 7 Recognition Tactics that are Moot in the Modern Workforce

The modern workforce is eager to engage with your company, drive immediate results and advance their careers. But it can be difficult for today’s employees to stay motivated when they’re paired with businesses that practice dated and ineffective engagement and recognition strategies.

When it comes to putting a square peg in a round hole, we’ve highlighted the top seven obsolete recognition tactics that are still commonly practiced by many businesses. Ditch these pitfalls and refresh your engagement techniques to expertly engage, align and recognize the modern workforce.

1. After 15 years, rewarding employees with a grandfather clock.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. A lot of time has passed from when rewarding employees with a grandfather clock was a meaningful gesture. Give your workforce the option of how they would like to be rewarded for adding value and driving results. The modern workforce wants choice and gravitate towards experiential and travel rewards.

2. Withholding all of your feedback and giving it to employees once a year, in an annual review.

Performance appraisals are uncomfortable and tedious for both the reviewer and the employee alike. Reserving feedback for annual performance reviews is just not enough for the modern workforce. They want their work to be evaluated and recognized – and they want it done immediately. Create transparency by making information available to all employees, particularly managers so that they can give the meaningful feedback Millennials crave.

3. Only sharing the strategic corporate objectives with the executive team.

How, where and when communication happens today has drastically changed from the internal communication strategies HR professionals practiced fifteen, ten and even five years ago.These days, organizations don’t win unless all employees are aligned to a corporate vision and mission. Communicate strategic objectives to the modern workforce to bring communication the forefront while inspiring employees to drive results.

4. Assume your managers know how to recognize just because they’re managers.

Many companies fall victim to taking their best performers and creating the worst managers. Before you fill that management position, ask yourself what types of coaching skills the position requires and if your top candidate meets that criteria. Evaluate how you can equip your leadership with the tools they need to be great coaches.

5. Fail to implement an engagement and recognition strategy because its value has been deemed “immeasurable.”

Engaged workplaces yield a 38% increase in productivity and a 27% increase in profitability. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is! The notion that engagement and recognition strategies are a “fluffy” and immeasurable expense is an extremely dated perspective in the modern workforce.

6. Keep recognition moments private and between a manager and their employee.

When a team member has achieved excellent results, keeping this information private is not only demotivating, but it can also lead the employee to mistrust their manager. Recognition is more valuable and inspiring to the modern workforce when it is shared publicly, be it shared among the team in a meeting or via social mediums like LinkedIn.

7. Be conflict-averse and avoid negative conversations with employees.

What’s more awkward: receiving negative feedback or delivering it? Well, what if we told you that the answer is neither? Today, Millennials want constructive criticism. They are so eager to get ahead and advance in their careers that they crave feedback, be it positive or constructive. Encourage your managers to approach criticism constructively, and to consider positioning feedback as a “coachable moment” when mentoring the modern workforce. This mentality will not only provide these future employees with the advice they need to advance, but it also allows managers to positively mitigate an uncomfortable situation quickly.

Interested in learning more about how the modern workforce likes to be recognized? Download our Class of 2014 whitepaper today.

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