The employee experience is on the minds of many HR professionals. As more organizations are looking to enhance the experience, sometimes improving existing practices, like employee recognition can have great value.
When it comes to recognition, we know employees want it. In fact, lack of it is the number one reason employees would leave their current job. While the finite numbers and needs vary from generation to generation, it goes without saying: employee recognition is critical.Recognizing employees is only part of the effort to a great employee experience. How recognition is delivered has some serious weight and matters to employees. Employees have preferences when it comes to being acknowledged, and not everyone wants to be glorified in front of the entire company.
To find out, at a biometric level, how employees prefer to receive recognition, the IRF recently conducted an experiment. Participants of varying age, gender and profession watched and listened to four reward presentations and were biometrically assessed during the sessions.
The four presentation types:
- Big Show – in front of the entire company and delivered by the CEO
- Little Show – involving their work group and presented by the immediate manager
- Peer-to-Peer – in which immediate coworkers presented the reward with only the workgroup in attendance
- Private – in which a private, personal note was sent by the CEO accompanying the reward
Overall, experiment participants preferred the Little Show scenario as their favorite (86%), and the Peer-to-Peer presentation came in at number two. Interestingly, when the data is sliced by generational groups, Millennials favored smaller scenarios and chose the Peer-to-Peer scenario as their number one choice while the Big Show presentation was most disliked (30%) by this group.
How one prefers to be recognized is particular to each individual. However, this data has a compelling takeaway: meaningful recognition is important and the presentation matters. Leaders can play a considerable role in uncovering their employees’ likes and dislikes, including how they prefer to be recognized, by merely asking them the question.
So, when it comes to recognizing people, for it to be meaningful, it must be tailored to their preferences. Not only will this have more meaning for the recipient, but it also serves to reinforce the positive action you are rewarding while making it a great employee experience.