Recently, we asked our readers to share their biggest challenges around creating a culture of Employee Success, and it seems that for many companies, implementing a successful program is almost too daunting to contemplate. Fortunately, we here at Achievers specialize in this kind of thing, and where many of you saw insurmountable obstacles, we saw solutions. So we thought we’d share our expertise and teach you how to overcome your five most commonly cited problems.
5. We don’t have time to recognize our employees
About a third of our readers said they didn’t have enough time to recognize their employees. We have just one question: Do you check Facebook at work?
No, it’s OK. We won’t tell. It’s just that recognizing an employee via an online Employee Success tool takes about as much time as liking a status on Facebook. And, of course, dropping by someone’s office to say thanks never goes out of style (and takes less than a minute). If your organization is full of busy people—and whose isn’t?—do away with planning the lavish recognition ceremonies and you’ll be surprised how many casual “thanks” you can fit into a day.
4. We can’t get everyone to participate
If you offer something people actually want, participation is virtually guaranteed. Roll out your program with clear communication and enthusiasm, and your employees will meet you halfway. When Deloitte Canada rolled out its employee recognition program to its 7,638 employees, 50 percent of the staff—that’s 3,819 people—created accounts within the first 24 hours. Within a month, participation was at 97 percent. Deloitte’s big secret? It offered a program that was personally meaningful to its employees.
3. The programs won’t be meaningful
This was certainly true of the old kind of recognition program; employees were given lapel pins or kitschy novelty items (think branded stress balls and mini flashlights) that people didn’t even want, or they were only recognized once a decade through an antiquated Years of Service program. The workforce has changed, and you can no longer assume your employees are with you for the long haul. You need to recognize them often—weekly, at least—for specific accomplishments. Don’t know how your employees want to be recognized? Just ask! Shy employees may be embarrassed by public recognition, while your salespeople probably thrive on it. Let employees choose the methods and rewards that are most meaningful to them, and you can offer the most effective motivation for each individual.
2. We have no way of measuring our program’s effectiveness
More than half of the respondents to our survey worried (or knew their C-Suite was worried) that an Employee Success program was tantamount to throwing money down a hole. But the research backs it up: Employee Success = Business Success. To prove it, take a baseline employee survey before implementing the new program and see where things stand after a year. How has turnover changed? (On average, it decreases by 15%.) Is productivity up? (Usually, it increases 20%.) Additionally, if you use an online recognition program, it’s easy to pull metrics any time you want.
1. Our budget is too small
Overwhelmingly, our readers were concerned about cost. The myth persists that Employee Success programs are expensive to implement, when in fact they’re surprisingly scalable—and cost effective. You can reduce your upfront costs by focusing on recognition only; praise from a direct manager is almost twice as effective at motivating employees as stock options, and it’s free! But if your budget allows an investment in reward funds upfront, you’ll earn it back in no time. Gallup reports that companies with engaged employees report 50% higher sales, 27% higher profits, and 50% higher loyalty. And can you afford not to? Disengaged employees cost their company $3,400 for every $10,000 paid in salary.
Are you facing an Employee Success challenge we didn’t address here? Leave a comment and let us know!
 Asplund, Jim and Nikki Blacksmith. “How Strengths Boost Engagement.” Gallup Business Journal. 7 Apr. 2011.
 Lockwood, Nancy R. “Leveraging Employee Engagement for Competitive Advantage: HR’s Strategic Role.” HRMagazine Mar. 2007: 1-11. SearchSpot. ABI/INFORM Global (PQ). McIntyre Library, Eau Claire. 22 Apr. 2007