four factory worker who are wearing their uniforms smiled at the camera

How to build a culture of recognition in the energy sector

In Recognition and Engagement by Lori McKnight

How to build a culture of recognition in the energy sector

Employee engagement is the Holy Grail for business leaders around the world. Top employers like Google, Virgin, Starbucks and Southwest Airlines consider engagement a business strategy that is everyone’s responsibility (not just HR or upper management) – and key to their competitive advantage.

How to build a culture of recognition in the energy sector

So how do you improve employee engagement, especially with a huge workforce in an energy sector rattled with change and uncertainty?

To attract and retain the best talent you must offer more than job opportunities. You need to create a great place to work. A recent study by Accenture reported that 43% of employees attributed a lack of recognition to their unhappiness at work.

Recognition is a low cost, high impact way of improving morale and retention.

Here are some insights from Traci White, CSI’s Regional Director with over 27 years of recognition experience in the energy sector.

point 1 Employees want to be recognized for their years of service

Employees are proud of the work they do and the company they work for.
They appreciate the symbolism in a gift that marks milestones in their career and the public recognition of their contributions to the company. This is particularly true in the energy sector.

One of the unique challenges in this industry is finding ways to encourage baby boomers with high demand skills to stay. Employers need to find ways of making work attractive to people who may have little desire to do so financially, socially, mentally or physically – and this goes beyond offering more money.

Service Awards are a way of retaining employees a little longer by highlighting their loyalty and influence on the organization.

“I’ve found the younger generation of field employees also appreciate many of the traditional aspects of Service Anniversaries. Often these Millennial employees have family members in the industry so milestone presentations and awards have special meaning to them,” says White.

To optimize a program’s benefits, years of service programs must be implemented well by managers. An honest, heart-felt thanks on a personal and professional level has a remarkable impact on the individual and those he/she works with.

point 2 Understand the rewards that matter most to your people

While Service Anniversary presentations satisfy intrinsic needs for appreciation, the extrinsic awards offered are also important to enhance the employee experience.

It’s important to offer your workforce the rewards that are culturally relevant and motivating to them, and these awards differ depending on the program, country and individual.

The types of awards valued by employees in the energy sector have not changed over the years. Employees continue to appreciate commemorative awards for their years of service. Energy sector employees value symbolic, tangible items they can display prominently. These visible awards are a daily reminder of their hard work, loyalty and commitment – achievements that reflect themselves and their accomplishments.

A couple cases in point: One of Traci’s clients replaced his cherished years of service ring out of pocket when it was lost, another client (a GenXer) had his fireplace mantle custom stained to match his service anniversary clock and a granddaughter of another client (who happens to be a Millennial) treasures the service lapel pins and safety plaques her grandfather handed down to her.

While commemorative awards are important rewards for Service Anniversaries, energy sector employees prefer contemporary awards for performance and above and beyond programs. Employees want the ability to choose from a range of items most often related to hunting, fishing and camping. These gifts reflect their interests and passions. They are also proud to tell friends why they received the award!

point 3 Use Non-Monetary Recognition 70% of the time

Organizations need to offer employees more than just their month’s pay in return for hard work. Recognition programs can be a real differentiator in retaining and engaging employees during seasonal lulls, difficult work locations, booms and busts.

Here are a few initiatives Traci has seen used successfully:

  • On-the-Spot e-cards allow managers to personally recognize employees immediately for efforts that tie into the company’s core values. Mobile access to these tools is critical in the field.
  • Safety programs create a culture that attracts the right talent, minimizes injuries and reduces loss time
  • Social recognition dashboards can be tied to news stream monitors in the workplace to promote anniversaries, success stories and great work, all ways of creating a positive work culture
  • Incentive programs can be used effectively to encourage and reward critical knowledge transfer

How to build a culture of recognition in the energy sector

Non-monetary recognition should be used 70% of the time. Finding ways that enable your managers to give more frequent thanks for the things employees do everyday is how you build a culture of recognition.

There are many ways to strengthen employee engagement through recognition initiatives. CSISTARS has a wealth of experience in designing programs that meet specific industry needs, fit any budget and can be implemented quickly, anywhere in the world.

Build engagement, strengthen your culture and improve your business results MEASURABLY today and reap the rewards tomorrow!

Author: Lori McKnight

Lori McKnight
Lori is the VP of Recognition for CSI International Inc. She has a MBA with a minor in Human Resources, is a Certified Recognition Professional and member of the SHRM blog squad. Prior to joining CSI STARS, she worked at Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Youthography, a youth market research agency. Connect with CSI STARS on LinkedIn to learn how we cultivate a workforce that loves coming to work.