How 5 Top Companies Keep Employees Happy

Part II – Recognition – After discussing how promoting involvement and belonging can influence employee satisfaction, we move to the second theme for our five companies. In this article, we illustrate how Cisco, Hilton, Wegman’s, Salesforce, and NVIDIA leverage employee recognition to promote happiness.

Why Recognition Matters

Everyone wants to be appreciated for the things that we do. This matters in interpersonal relationships and the workplace.   Many companies do not put enough effort into making employees feel valued. Failing to do this leads to low morale, productivity, and collaboration and also results in higher turnover.

When employees feel recognized, they are happier and have a better overall quality of life. Meanwhile, companies that value their employees see results in terms of productivity, attendance, retention, satisfaction, and leadership.

Providing Recognition

Recognition means different things for different employees. It’s important for managers to understand how individual employees prefer to be recognized. Some enjoy public praise while others like a more personal thank you.

From an organizational standpoint, there are a myriad of ways to recognized employees. Cisco is known for emphasizing its concept of “winning together,” building a culture of kindness and giving back.

Another core method of showing that you value staff involves being aware of their needs. Wegman’s does a great job at this. During the winter holidays, people in the corporate office go work in stores in order to allow staff to maximize their time off with families. Meanwhile, companies like Salesforce emphasize work-life balance with hybrid models and efforts to reduce burnout like “no meeting weeks.”

Benefits Matter Too

Praise, culture, and situational awareness are certainly all important elements of recognized the value of employees. However, tangible benefits are also important for promoting employee happiness.  An employee who feels under compensated is going to be more likely to feel undervalued.

While these five companies typically do quite well in terms of salaries, not every firm is able to that. Benefits can be a way that companies show employees they are valued. NVIDIA does a great job with this, offering benefits many places don’t like plans to buy company stock, extended parental leaves, and plans that cover things like adoption expenses, in vitro fertilization, and egg freezing.

Hilton has rolled many benefits into its Thrive wellness program which supports well-being and performance. This includes a sabbatical program that gives staff four weeks off and $5,000 to pursue a personal passion and  generous discounts on dream vacations, a unique benefits that can be easily leveraged by their status in the hospitality industry.

The bottom line in the efforts of these five companies is an emphasis that their employees matter. Companies can recognize staff in formal and informal ways that span direct recognition, company culture, work environments that respond to situational needs, and various perks and benefits. For these companies, recognition is much more than a pat on the back. It is about communicating value consistently.