Creating a Culture of Employee Recognition

Tash Postolovski
January 27, 2018

Employee recognition is vital to building a high performance culture

Employee recognition is vital to building a high performance culture

Recognition is one of the things that makes work rewarding for many people, and a lack of recognition can cause serious problems with staff engagement.

Research by Gallup found that employees who don’t feel recognized are 2x more likely to quit within a year. In addition, Gallup found that a majority of employees don’t feel adequately recognized for their work. In particular, it seems that millennial workers place an exceptionally high value on recognition. The HR Council (Canada) defines employee recognition as “the acknowledgement of an individual or team’s behavior, effort and accomplishments that support the organization’s goals and values. Recognition is not one-size-fits all. Thought needs to go into what would be appreciated by the person being recognized.”

While most managers know that recognizing their employees is important, it’s often one of the first things to be buried beneath a mountain of other tasks. In retail settings, where managers may be responsible for a large number of employees and have limited time with each staff member, adequate recognition can prove especially difficult.

Employee recognition is at the core of the Arcade platform. Here are some things we’ve learned about how you can build a culture of employee recognition in your retail business.

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Enable Peer-to-Peer Recognition

At Arcade, we’ve found that recognition is best when everyone in the company participates. It’s essential that employees at the peer level are empowered to recognize each-other for their work. We’ve also found that non-manager employees want to recognize their colleagues, but may not currently have an appropriate platform to do so.

To create a culture of employee recognition it is vital that recognition is encouraged at all levels of the company. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • At staff meetings, set a designated time where employees are encouraged to recognize each other
  • Give employees micro-rewards (like vouchers and gift cards) which they can award to other staff in recognition of something they’ve done
  • Set up a recognition wall in the staff area at store locations, where employees can recognize and thank their colleagues

Peer-to-peer recognition is a core part of Arcade. Any employee can recognize any other employee by awarding recognition ‘Stars’. Stars can be awarded in a range of categories, from Teaching to Performance. Employees can also include a personalized message with their recognition. Employees who’ve been recognized with ‘Stars’ are entered into a weekly prize draw where they can win a range of prizes. By making recognition easy, instant, and fun, we see employees awarding Recognition Stars across all levels of their organization.

Arcade recognition stars

Using Arcade to recognize a colleague.

Give Recognition Immediately

Though employee recognition is always worthwhile, studies suggest that it is less effective when recognition is delayed by more than a week. In a busy retail environment, recognition can be delayed as long as it takes for disparate staff schedules align.

At Arcade, we’ve found that recognition is at its most powerful when it’s instantaneous. By using a storewide communication platform like Arcade, employees can recognize each other immediately. In one case, an employee at one store spoke to an employee working at another store location to seek advice on how to display a particular product. At the end of the conversation the employee who was helped immediately used the Arcade platform to recognize the employee who helped them. Even though these staff members had never met in person, they were able to participate in a culture of recognition through Arcade.

Arcade Newsfeed

When an employee is given a Recognition Star the news is shared on the organization’s Arcade newsfeed.

Make Your Recognition Specific and Individualized

According to Gallup, the most effective recognition is “honest, authentic, and individualized”. This is the difference between a generic “good job” and, instead, praising a specific behavior and its results. Peer-to-peer recognition helps achieve this, as fellow team-members are often best-placed to give specific and timely recognition.

One of the best ways to encourage individualized recognition is to divide recognition into categories. For example, each month you may encourage staff to recognize someone in each of the following categories: Teaching, Sales, and Leadership. This encourages staff to give recognition for a specific behavior related to each category. This is preferable to generic feedback given without specific examples, which is overall less effective.

Arcade achieves this by dividing recognition ‘Stars’ into categories: Friendly, Teaching, Leadership, MVP, and Performance. This encourages staff to think about recognizing a wider range of behaviors than they might otherwise, and helps them be more specific in their reasons for giving recognition.

Coffee cup with 'Thanks' message

Reward Employees Who Recognize Others

Giving employees the tools to recognize one another is the first step in embedding recognition into your company culture. However, employees who aren’t accustomed to giving feedback may need an extra incentive to begin recognizing their coworkers. This is why it’s important to reward and encourage the act of recognition.

This might mean doing things like:

  • Management taking the time to thank employees who regularly recognize others and champion a culture of recognition
  • Entering employees into a prize draw each time they give meaningful recognition to someone else in the organization
  • Making recognition a KPI for staff, and building it into job descriptions

On Arcade, recognition is encouraged through Quests. Quests are fun challenges that employees can participate in to win digital and real-world rewards. Often, Quests challenge employees to give a recognition ‘Star’ to a colleague, and in doing so, win rewards of their own.

Arcade profile quest section

Arcade uses Quests to encourage employees to recognize others.

Create Forms of Recognition That Fit Your Organization’s Values and Goals

The most effective forms of recognition will be congruent with your organization’s values and goals. If your organization is focused on increasing the amount of upsells happening on the sales floor, for example, you could develop ways to recognize staff who further this goal. For example, instead of the much-lampooned “Employee of the Month” award, you could designate a monthly “Upsells Champion”. Develop systems to formally recognize employees who embody your organization’s values and goals.

For many retail organizations, high-level organizational values struggle to influence the day to day of sales staff. By recognizing behaviors that embody these high-level values, they are much more likely to permeate throughout all levels of your organization.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Many organizations get bogged down trying to invents new recognition programs from scratch. However, this time would often be better spent adopting a pre-existing recognition program with proven results. Schedule a demo to experience the benefits of a built-in employee recognition system you and your staff can start using today.

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