Believe it or not, Millennials (1980-2000) may not be the first generation of so-called “trophy kids.” The famous quote by Samuel Adams, “Give credit where credit is due” originates all the way back to the 1700s.
So why have Millennials been pegged as “trophy kids”? Some believe we expect a blue ribbon for every task we complete, no matter how trivial.
I don’t need a round of applause every time I walk into the office or perform a standard task, but I do assume that I’ll receive recognition for exceptional work or redirection if I’m heading down the wrong path.
And it’s not only Millennials looking for some recognition and reassurance. Your Baby Boomer and GenX employees will appreciate meaningful acknowledgement of achievements, work ethic and good attitude too. Standard “Employee of the Month” awards are typically trinkets unrelated to performance or organization-wide values. Moreover, rewards such as crystal paperweights or parking spots turn employee recognition into employee competition. These limited material rewards don’t work – 82% of employees feel as though they are not recognized for their work as often as they deserve to be.
Recognition and rewards platforms like Kazoo highlight daily successes such as new clients launched or business closed, so everyone in the company is aware of achievements that otherwise might go unnoticed. Posted publicly on a social feed, peers can comment and like achievements worth celebrating. This system of recognition highlights top performers and inspires your team to work just as hard.
But employee rewards and recognitions should acknowledge more than revenue or clientele growth, since your workforce likely has some goals outside of those two objectives.
To continually foster a goal-driven company culture, HR and managers must acknowledge employees’ behaviors that embody the organization’s values and mission. At Kazoo, recognitions and rewards are tied to company-wide values, such as “Customer is King” or “Take Ownership.” By celebrating these kind of practices, we set a standard of behavior employees should strive to emulate.
Implementing a recognition and rewards program benefits every generation in your workforce – including Millennials. Managers and HR can inspire behaviors and performance standards to optimize organizational success. If an employee is underperforming, give them feedback to learn and grow from their shortcomings. If an employee is consistently performing well, or exceeding what is expected of them, acknowledge this as well to ensure long-term, continuous, commendable behavior. Recognizing an employee for their performance, rather than giving them a pen for remaining with the company for five years, will do much more to bolster company culture and increase employee engagement.