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Is a recognition program really that important?

blog | June 23, 2019
Ashley Giles

Historically in Property Management, we have not been good at rewarding and recognizing our teams. It was not uncommon for me to go into an office to speak with the PM’s and find them in the back corner of the sales office next to the photocopier and the toilet.

I am pleased to say this is becoming a thing of the past, but are we really giving the kind of recognition our team wants and needs?

In a recent survey of 500 workplaces, a Gallup poll found 87% of recognition programs are solely based on the employes length of time in the company.

Most of us are familiar with the statistics on millennials’ levels of engagement and recognition. But do you know the statistics for all of your employees, regardless of age or tenure?

Fifty-one percent of workers are “not engaged” in their work. In fact, the number of "actively disengaged" workers, at 24% is nearly double the 13% of workers who say they are actively engaged. This, as you imagine greatly, affects business profitability and performance.

We know that the number one reason why people leave jobs is limited recognition and praise and that 40% of people would work harder if they were recognized. When I learned this I was shaken to my core. We know how much it costs to recruit and train our teams, only to have them leave due to our lack of effective recognition.

So, what can we do about it? For starters, dust off that old recognition program, or better yet get a white piece of paper and start fresh. Whatever we focus on we achieve. If you make recognition and rewarding your team a core part of your culture, you will have an unstoppable recipe for team engagement.

Find a way to ask your team what they want! We started using office vibe, it's a free tool that anonymously surveys your team and gives you a rating on each of the core engagement categories. It has helped us find out what our people wanted and needed in a way they would have never told us face to face.

With my role as a leader, I realized that attracting, retaining and engaging great people had to be a core focus. So, as business owners, my wife and I set about building a program for this. We are not perfect, but as an active and daily part of the priorities for our management team, I feel we are on the right track.

Build a Program. We built a layered recognition program that recognized and rewards the teams individual and team performance as well as a peer recognition program and milestone celebration program.

Rest assured I am not a fan of the “Participation Prize” but as leaders, it is our job to look for areas our team is excelling in, seek out innovative and new ways to recognize their achievements as well as their successes in their personal lives.

Revisit and Review it often. My last scary statistic is that 89% of senior leaders think their company is doing a good job of recognizing and rewarding the team, so chances are even if your reading this you may not change anything.

My hope is that we all ask ourselves the question, could we be doing more? If the answer is yes, then dust off the old process and let us see what we can do with a little creative thinking!

I have posted on these, and other innovations I have seen in my visits to the LPMA member offices, in the LPMA forum. I look forward to carrying on the conversation there.

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