September 12, 2013

CEO Jeff Weiner and the Importance of Employee Recognition

Business man showing thumbs up signEmployees are the backbone of any organization; without them a company just wouldn’t be what it is. Whether it’s the drive-thru worker at McDonald’s or the chief marketing officer at Google, employees are the people who make an organization successful (or even failure).

So, because employees are such a vital component of a company, it’s important that these people feel valued. Businesses need to ensure that they’re taking the necessary time to recognize and reward their employees’ achievements.

Think about it: Recognition equals appreciation. Have you ever done something for someone, something you worked very hard to do or went out of your way to accomplish, and the person failed to say “thank you.” How did that make you feel? Most often, a lack of recognition makes you feel unappreciated and like the person did not value your time and efforts.

The same is true for your workers. People work hard and spend the majority of their day in the office (or work setting). It’s comforting to receive a “great job” or “I appreciate you” every now and then because it shows the worker that 1) you recognize him/her and his/her hard work and efforts and 2) this is valuable to you and the company.

When companies make sure that their workers feel valued and recognized, it only benefits these businesses. Engaged employees translate into increased productivity and lower turnover rates. A great example of this is LinkedIn and its CEO Jeff Weiner.

Did you know Weiner has a Glassdoor approval rating of 93 percent? Looking at a few recent comments, his workers (and formers worker/interns) say things like:

“Fantastic compensation, friendly coworkers, meaningful work, great perks and benefits, proximity to even more geeky people (adjacent to Google), just awesome. They encourage thought on career development and personal transformation so there’s active engagement about moving your career forward from day one.” (Software Engineer, Mountain View, Calif.)

“LinkedIn truly is an incredible place to work. You feel valued, you are treated with respect, and are given independence, which is more than I can say about some other Silicon Valley tech companies. I feel lucky to work here every day. Come in when you want, do your work, and leave. Except you won’t want to leave. They have an incredible full service cafe with gourmet food, a gym, exercise classes, and more. It makes every other company look like a dump!” (Anonymous current employee)

An article on Motley Fool also explained a few reasons why Weiner is an incredible CEO; takeaways you can use when creating and/or updating your employee recognition strategy:

Where Jeff Weiner really separates himself as a fantastic leader is in the sheer number of perks and benefits that LinkedIn employees enjoy. Social media companies are already well-known for their wacky perks, but LinkedIn just piles them on. In addition to standard health insurance options and a 50% company match on the first 3% that employees contribute to their 401(k), LinkedIn also provides chair massages, a 24/7 onsite gym, afternoon yoga, and regular lectures from prominent guest speakers. LinkedIn also sponsors catered lunches for its employees.

So, LinkedIn offers health and 401k benefits, massages, a gym, yoga classes, catered lunches and lectures for professional development. What do all these perks tell an employee? That LinkedIn cares and values its workers, even in the day-to-day things.

Work hours can be long and stressful; who wouldn’t enjoy a relaxing massage? Sometimes people get off too late or are too tired to head to the gym after work; so, offering an onsite gym gives workers a more convenient option while showing them “hey, this company cares about your health.” The same is true with yoga, and bringing in guest speakers to motivate and enrich workers’ lives also shows that LinkedIn cares about its employees’ personal and professional development.

Recognizing the “little things” that affect a worker’s daily life shows him/her you, as the employer, care and are invested in the person.

The article also detailed another way LinkedIn recognized its workers:

But, perhaps the coolest perk of all is that in February LinkedIn purchased Apple iPad Minis — the 16 GB $429 model — for all 3,458 full-time employees! According to Krista Canfield, a senior communications manager at LinkedIn, “[The company] wanted to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of all of our employees in 2012. During today’s biweekly All Hands meeting, we surprised our employees with iPad Minis as a small gesture of the company’s gratitude for their contributions.

Buying 3,458 employees iPad minis at $429 a pop is certainly an expensive “we recognize you.” This, although extremely generous and attention grabbing, does not have to be your approach. But, you do want to recognize your employees in a way that will appeal to them. Handing out $5 gas cards when gas prices are $3.59+ doesn’t scream “we really value everything you do here.” This won’t appeal to workers. If you’re going to recognize workers and demonstrate your appreciation, really show it by offering perks, bonuses and gifts commensurate with your appreciate level(s).

Read more in Employee Recognition

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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