The 3 Things Your Employees Want Most This Holiday Season

As some readers may know, I have the honor and privilege of also being a contributing blogger on Compensation Café, which is hosted and edited by fellow TLNT contributor Ann Bares.

Over the last many months of contributing to the Café, I’ve found I have much to learn about the ins and outs of compensation from my fellow bloggers. I tend to stick to the topic of employee recognition and rewards, perhaps branching out into how that impacts Total Rewards, with an occasional post on annual bonuses to add some spice.

My point is, when you work closely (if virtually) with others who have a different (if related) focus, you expand your opportunities to learn. And yet, much that is true for employee compensation – the hard core details of “an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work” – is also true for strategic employee recognition and reward.

Making a case for cash clarity

Case-in-point is this recent post from Ann Bares’ personal blog, Compensation Force. Ann makes the important point:

For those without boatloads of money to give out at year-end, I would suggest that one of the best things you can do for your employees is to offer them the gift of cash clarity. Disclose and clearly explain your compensation objectives and priorities. Detail the purpose and workings of your salary and bonus programs. Tell them why things are done the way they are.  Share what employees should expect under different scenarios — this year and going forward.”

Fuzziness around compensation provokes mistrust and anxiety – and heaven knows there is already plenty of this to go around. Give employees the facts and information necessary to understand why they are paid as they are, and what their options and opportunities are to earn more.”

The 3 things that employees want most

The wisdom Ann offers here is just as true for employee recognition and rewards – indeed, for employee engagement overall. Reading between the lines, the three things employees most want from their employers are:

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  1. Honesty – Employees understand the state of the slowly recovering economy. They know why certain actions may have been taken over the last months or years. Communicate with them honestly about past actions and future plans (on any topic).
  2. Clarity – Be sure such communications are also clear and simple. Avoid the “legalese” and simply tell it like it is. In recognition, this has many applications, just one of which is telling employees quite clearly, “Recognize each other for demonstrating these specific behaviors and values in the daily work.” Give detailed examples of what those behaviors and values may look like. Leave as little up to question and interpretation as possible.
  3. Trust – Bringing honesty and clarity to the fore naturally generates increased trust. But without honesty and clarity, it will be very hard to ever encourage trust among employees for management overall.

For more on this topic, check out this Forbes article, as well.

Does your organization give these very important gifts – at the holidays and year round?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is senior vice president of client strategy and consulting at Workhuman, where he leads the company’s consulting and analytics divisions. His writing is regularly featured across major HR publications, including HR Magazine, Human Resource Executive, HR Zone, and Workspan.