Kavitha’s keynote: A simple ‘thank you’ is often enough

Earlier this week, we reported that creative practitioners working in London’s West End who are members of the trade union Equity voted to accept a deal which included pay increases and more flexible working opportunities.

While employment disputes over pay are increasingly common, what struck me about this case was the clear focus on wider terms and conditions that seemed to be of equal importance to financial reward for the individuals concerned.

For example, the agreement allows for Christmas Day to be a free day off, without a reduction in salary or holiday entitlement, and for rights such as job shares to be incorporated into contracts. This appears to demonstrate that employees value a supportive and inclusive working environment just as much as a higher pay packet, and understand the impact of these policies and procedures on their wider wellbeing.

Indeed, according to research published exclusively in Employee Benefits, receiving recognition is also high on the list of priorities. The study, carried out by Reward Gateway, found that showing appreciation is embedded into the culture of almost three in five organisations with between 10 and 49 employees. However, it also revealed that this is not the case at four in five businesses with 250 to 500 staff.

A quarter of managers said they struggled to find the time to say thank you and praise staff, yet half of employees admitted they would leave an organisation that did not do this enough. Around three in five individuals stated they would prefer to work for an employer that had a culture of regularly praising and saying thank you to staff for their good work than one which paid 10% more but did not offer praise or thanks.

Employers must take the issue of recognition more seriously, and firmly establish it as part of their organisational culture. It should also give them comfort in the knowledge that keeping staff happy and motivated does not depend on the depths of their pockets.

While on the subject of showing appreciation, I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the Employee Benefits team for making this past year so memorable. I am sad to announce that this is my final week at the publication; it is now time for me to say goodbye and wish the returning editor, Debbie Lovewell-Tuck, all the best as she takes the helm once again.

Kavitha Sivasubramaniam
Tweet: @kavithasiva_EB