This approach is much, much more effective for increasing employee engagement.

By Jacquelyn Kung

At this point, we have collected a trove of employee feedback from our industry.

What’s astounding is how employee recognition programs are the flavor du jour in executive offices and corporate budgets – and yet how some of these same programs can be lambasted on the frontlines.

Here is what we have learned.

What Doesn’t Work

First, let’s look at where they suck . . . from the words of employees themselves (some quotes are translations to English for easier reading):

Our ED has good intentions, but he recognizes and honors employees the way he believes is effective – with a certificate and thank you at our monthly meetings.”

“Rewards continue to be . . . a “thanks” and maybe a Starbucks card. Cookie-cutter.”

“I’ve asked my supervisor to please pass on recognizing me.”

“I won the recognition award the first year. And I nearly cried. I know how great my team is and how hard they work. I was just identified as the best in our department.”

What Does Work

Instead, these elements are what employees across our industry love about their jobs and communities.

“My team”

“Brilliant residents”

And of the recognition programs that work, they are tailored to what makes a staff member happy (not everyone likes public recognition), plus leading with a “thank you” which makes them happy.

This approach is much, much harder to do than implementing a standard program – but from feedback across our industry, it is much, much more effective for increasing employee engagement

Your thoughts? Please leave your comments below!