The Carrot Principle is the latest book by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. This New York Times bestseller summarizes one of the largest studies ever conducted on employee recognition in the workplace. The authors surveyed 200,000 employees over 10 years to come up with some very enlightening conclusions on employee recognition and its larger implications for a company’s bottom line.
So what is a carrot culture? According to the “carrot guys,” it is an environment where employees are valued and appreciated for their contributions—creating passion and performance.
There are many reasons why employers start recognition programs, including: creating a positive work environment, creating a culture of recognition, motivating high performance, reinforcing desired behaviors, improving morale and supporting the organization’s mission and values. However, it is how a recognition program is executed that will determine if these goals are met.
Some salient findings from the study include:
- 73 percent of employees feel engaged when their employers are ranked as giving “high recognition.” This number drops to 16.7 percent when employers are ranked in the 3rd quintile for recognition.
- 70 percent of employees want to stay with their employers when they are ranked as providing high recognition.
- Managers ranked salary and job security as the top concerns for their employees, while employees reported that appreciation for work done was their top concern.
- 79 percent of employees leave their jobs due to lack of appreciation.
So, how can employers fix this and effectively recognize their employees? Here are just a few examples:
- Create informal recognition moments.
- Make a powerful presentation.
- Offer recognition that is sincere, specific, personal, frequent and timely.
Informal recognition can be as simple as a thank you or a pat on the back and should be used to praise employee efforts. Formal recognition should be used to reward results.
Employees want to remain with and do their best work for an employer that offers the carrot rather than the proverbial “stick.” Employers reap real benefits by taking this approach. When employers recognize good performance by their employees, chances are they will see that good performance again.
In another study of 26,000 employees in 31 organizations called “Recognition Pays,” conducted in 2005 by the OC Tanner Group and the Jackson Organization, researchers demonstrate two important findings:
- An organization’s ability to recognize appropriate performance in its workforce can dramatically impact its profitability.
- An organization wishing to improve its bottom line may look toward employee recognition—typically an untapped business strategy.
If you are an employer struggling with recruitment, retention, productivity or less than stellar morale, or want to achieve greater employee engagement, perhaps an effective or reinvigorated recognition plan could make a difference for your organization.
For more information about starting your own carrot culture, visit www.carrots.com or Recognitions Professional International at www.recognition.org for a number of articles and studies on the subject of recognition programs. IBI