Bottoms up! How to reward and retain achievers at all levels


It’s easy to focus on the top performing employees in the organization. After all, this is where the magic happens. But what if you spent some extra time evaluating the bottom level of employee performance to see what’s going on there? Perhaps there are some ways to boost performance by incentivizing lower-performing employees, thereby creating a new crop of achievers.

 

The state of employee recognition

It’s a sad fact that many employees are either not aware their company offers a recognition program, or they believe they aren’t eligible to receive rewards. Why is this?

According to The State of Employee Recognition in 2012, published by Bersin & Associates (Deloitte), “nearly 75 percent of organizations have a recognition program, but only 58 percent of the employees think that their organizations have such a program.” Additionally, the Aberdeen Group’s The Power of Employee Recognition 2013 report advised that, “60 percent of best-in-class organizations state that employee recognition is extremely valuable in driving individual performance,” but “only 14 percent of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition.”

What is the bottoms-up approach to employee recognition?

Using a “bottoms-up” approach to reward employees at all levels can be a great way to increase morale, retain employees, and shake up the status quo a little. While it seems that managers and team leaders always get the spotlight, very seldom do long-term loyal employees who have somehow gotten into a rut receive the same. It’s no wonder some employees feel invisible.

“Bottoms up” refers to giving employees at all levels the chance to recognize their peers for their efforts and encouraging front-line managers to reward these unsung heroes.

Bottoms-up recognition can be achieved through an old-fashioned employee suggestion box in the company break room, or perhaps via an online form that any employee can use to submit a positive note about a colleague. You could also add some questions to your 360-degree survey inviting those who would like to recognize a peer anonymously.

Give front-line managers resources and tips for handing out regular recognition and tokens of appreciation to employees. Instead of merely focusing on the top levels of the company, recognize all employees on their work anniversaries with a public celebration during a monthly staff meeting, for example.

Remember, all employees deserve regular recognition throughout the year. Using a bottoms-up approach can help employees at all levels know your company takes employee recognition seriously and wants to keep them around for the long term. That’s bound to boost employee morale and improve retention rates.


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