Going the extra mile at work—is it worth it?

19 September, 2018

Going the extra mile at work—is it worth it?

Every individual is rare. Every milestone is unique. Employee engagement is a clichéd management attribute, yet all organizations want engaged employees. Undoubtedly, employees who stay engaged are proven to be more hard-working, productive, and focused. So what is it that drives organizations towards attaining high levels of engagement? Let’s find out.

When employees receive recognition for their efforts, they feel valued. It helps them feel more human and less like cogs in the wheel. But what happens if their efforts go unacknowledged? You’re right—you eventually meet them at the exit interview.

Unfortunately, an employee leaving an organization comes at a cost. When you calculate the total expenditure on recruitment, training, and loss of productivity, it is a major financial hit. This is the cumulative sum of only a single resource. Think about the losses after multiple employees quit in a year. This is where motivation and employee recognition can really help.

On a daily basis, employees have to continually choose between going the extra mile or not and the impact of their actions on the organization’s success. These are vital decisions because, when employees transcend their formal key responsibilities and help out their co-workers, proactively take on new assignments, introduce new practices and ideas, attend non-mandatory trainings, and pitch in extra hours to meet deadlines, companies tend to become more successful in the long term.

As a result, a vital task for leaders is to motivate their workforce to engage in behaviors that require extra efforts to keep the organization working at an optimal level.

Building recognition into your culture

Recognition doesn’t always have to descend from the senior management. Fact of the matter is, no one likes their efforts being ignored—be it a sales pitch for a potential client or a tree plantation initiative for the team. The easiest way to make everyday recognition personal, shared, and viral is to start with your peers. Here are a few ways to do so:

The bigger picture: Motivate employees by giving them a purpose, and something to look forward to every day. It could be holding monthly meetings allowing them to discuss the challenges they face or hear about the company’s progress on reaching strategic goals. It should be more than just a pep talk; it should be a forum for honest conversation.

Broadcast appreciation: Some of the best thank you’s in life are free. An employee appreciation solution does not always have to be expensive to be effective. Make celebrating irresistible by signing up for a solution that makes rewards and recognition a memorable experience.

Win-win situation: Nothing starts the morning on a better note than by sharing wins from the previous day. It’s a great way for co-workers to publicly tell the team about a job well done by other team members. Encourage daily efforts by talking about little victories, which leads to big results.

The secret to motivation

Motivation is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What pushes one to work harder, may not necessarily work for the other. Employees should be honest about communicating to their leaders and peers the type of activities they choose to do at work to stay engaged. Recognizing and valuing resources is not rocket science; all it takes is just some time, effort, and awareness.

It’s time to rethink the way we actually engage with our employees. Recognition isn’t a fluffy idea meant to boost employee egos. Meaningful recognition can do wonders for the workplace, enhancing the work-life balance of employees and balance sheets of organizations.

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