In today’s job market, businesses compete on the basis of company culture. With unemployment at its lowest in decades, 54% of workers are confident in their ability to find a new job if needed. Now, filling open positions is a bigger challenge for organizations than it is for an individual to find employment. The job market has positioned applicants to pick and choose between companies offering flashy perks and boasting high employee satisfaction rates. Employee engagement remains a strategy priority among senior leaders and the market necessitates continuous improvements in company culture.

Monetary bonuses, flexible and remote work schedules, and office ping-pong tables aren’t the most important contributors to employee satisfaction. According to a study by Glassdoor, 4 out of 5 employees seek secure benefits. Glassdoor lists health care, paid time off, and performance bonuses as the most sought-after benefits, with paid sick days coming in fourth.  This should come as a relief to small and medium businesses (SMBs) that can’t compete with grandiose perks flaunted by multibillion-dollar corporate giants. Consider Google, which brings in a chef for lunch for its employees, offers biweekly chair massages, hosts yoga classes, and provides free haircuts. When it comes to perks, not all companies can or will budget for the ping-pong tables or beanbag chair filled office spaces that define many multi-billion dollar companies, but there are no limitations on developing a strong workplace culture.

Applaudit influences employee fulfillment

Successful companies of all sizes can maintain an environment that fosters growth, allows flexibility, and encourages praise and acknowledgement. Careful thinking, feedback, and support all play into the development of a satisfied workforce. Although many people think of  culture as something that develops naturally, businesses are comprised of employees with generational differences and varying preferences, so the best companies work to develop an ideal culture that is adaptable to change and suits their needs. Consistent recognition for hard work reinforces employee engagement and contributes to satisfaction. In fact, recognition and engagement efforts transform a company into an employer of choice. People work for more than just a paycheck. They seek fulfillment, which is reinforced when their managers and peers acknowledge their dedication and commitment to their work. 

At Next Level Performance, we practice recognition through Applaudit™. The online recognition software provides an accessible, and easy-to-use interface on which our peers can congratulate each other on a job-well-done. We also reward each other with points that can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, air travel tickets, and event tickets. Research shows that non-cash rewards are more effective in reinforcing productivity, and are preferred by managers and employees alike, making points programs an efficient and meaningful way to inspire engagement in the workplace. A culture of engagement and recognition goes hand-in-hand, and goes a long way in attracting and retaining employees, reinforcing the brand, and working as a competitive advantage. 

Ultimately, employees seek fulfillment, opportunity, and recognition for their efforts, not perks. An environment in which people feel recognized, welcomed, and appreciated is key to maintaining a competitive, productive business.


About the author

As Vice President of Travel & Engagement at Next Level Performance, Susan serves on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and chairs the IRF Research Committee. She has also served on the board of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and is a past president of the Recognition Council, and a past member of the Performance Improvement Council and the Incentive and Engagement Solution Providers (IESP). She is interested in the strategies and benefits of employee engagement, incentive, and recognition programs. An avid traveler, she is also passionate about the art and science of incentive travel. Favorite travel destinations: Costa Rica, Iceland, Switzerland, and Maine.

Susan Adams
Vice President of Engagement

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