All I want for Christmas is….recognition

If you want your employees to return from their well-earned Christmas break feeling positive and motivated to conquer the world in the New Year, then recognition is the best gift you can possibly bestow. It’s good for the organisation, too, as recognition is a key factor in greater employee engagement which we know has a positive impact on a range of business outcomes.

What makes recognition so important, especially at Christmas?

Appreciation is a fundamental human need, so it’s hardly surprising that showing employees gratitude for their commitment, effort and contribution positively reinforces that ‘what I do matters’. Allied to this, praise, feedback and recognition can often be more effective motivators than financial incentives, encouraging greater productivity and associated with a significant reduction in employee turnover.

While a cash bonus can inject a short-term boost of energy, a culture of recognition can generate a longer-lasting and more sustainable impact on performance, and this is borne out by many global engagement surveys. Engaged employees are more likely to ‘go the extra mile’ and invest greater effort, potentially up to a 50% increase in productivity as shown by some of the original research by Gallup.

Of course, the concept of reward and recognition should be observed all year round but it’s particularly relevant at Christmas. The end of the year is traditionally a time of giving as well as celebration and rest. We shouldn’t underestimate the impact of seasonal ‘goodwill’ reinforced by gestures of appreciation to help employees feel important and valued, so they can return in the New Year with a positive attitude.

WPG’s own 2018 Awards

As Occupational Psychologists we know that regular celebration of good performance and recognition of individuals is as important to enhancing employee engagement and well-being as it is to maximising business performance. We work hard to apply within our own organisation the same principles we support clients in embedding – timely, regular feedback and recognition of the behaviour and efforts, at an individual and team level, that reinforce our Values and support our strategic goals.

Held at this time of year, our own annual awards process recognises the work of the team and individual contributions. Each award aligns with one of our WPG Values and employees at all levels can nominate their colleagues. We feel it provides a more personal and meaningful way of showing appreciation. Our award categories for 2018 were Courage, Innovation and Customer Service and our deserving winners are…

Courage – Emma Morley

Our Courage award aligns with our value of dealing positively with uncertainty and responding with confidence to the unexpected, generating a supportive, team-based environment. Emma consistently displayed courage towards colleagues and clients throughout the year. On many occasions she managed demanding situations with confidence, focusing on what’s best for the team and for clients. She also demonstrated integrity in her practice of Occupational Psychology, upholding core principles in the face of challenge.

Customer Service – Sam Sheridan

This award is presented on the basis of a commitment to producing the highest quality standard of work for clients in a way that promotes professionalism and client-centred practice. Sam was recognised for maintaining a ‘can do’ attitude, delivering high-quality project work, focusing on client needs and managing effective delivery against objectives. He also overcame numerous obstacles showing positivity and commitment.

Innovation – Emma-Louise Rowe & Analise La-Band

The Innovation award recognises ongoing commitment to identifying and integrating solutions that reflect originality and inspiration, enabling WPG to generate the latest thinking in our areas of expertise. This year two winners were selected.

Emma-Louise Rowe, who joined WPG seven months ago, was awarded for enthusiastically and proactivly striving to create new approaches for the benefit of well-being, team spirit and motivation. Her nomination reflects her capacity to challenge the team to think of new ways of working. In particular, her determined pursuit of wellness led to successful team initiatives that generate a real sense of positivity – everyone makes time for the weekly team stretch (particularly as Lycra is only optional!)

Having worked with WPG for over seven years, in addition to her senior consultancy role, Analise La-Band was recognised for her internal work at WPG and her commitment to generating and embedding new ways of working and enhancing organisational effectiveness. Particularly notable were Analise’s initiatives to encourage WPG to review and improve its approach in L&D and Marketing, with several successful interventions in both areas.

Recognition is not just for Christmas…

There’s no doubt that embedding a culture in which employees feel valued and appreciated on an ongoing basis – and not just at Christmas – results in increased satisfaction, motivation, engagement, effort and, ultimately, greater organisational output in the longer term.

On that note, we wish our employees and clients a happy and restful Christmas and a motivational and positive New Year!