Some companies don't consider Facebook a prime location to find quality employees, preferring to focus on more "professional" employment-related sites like LinkedIn or Monster.com.  However, Facebook actually has many advantages for recruiting young, media-savvy, creative employees. The Advantages of Recruiting On Facebook: 1. Facebook Has More Members Than Any Other Social Media Site For sheer volume of candidates, Facebook can't be beat.  It has over a billion members, more than 5 times as many as LinkedIn. 2. More People Are Looking For A Job On Facebook Than You Think You may consider Facebook a site to share party pictures and reconnect with old boyfriends from high school, but in fact, 48% of all job-seekers (and 63% of people who have a Facebook profile) used Facebook to hunt for a job last year.

In 2008, three professors from the Harvard Business School launched a study examining employees at 300 different Fortune 500 companies.  The purpose of the study was to determine which psychological factors impact employee motivation and morale.  (To read the full analysis, click here.) The study found that employees are guided by 4 basic emotional needs or drives: 1. The Drive To Acquire The drive to acquire is the need to obtain resources, including money and more intangible assets like social status. 2. The Drive to Bond The drive to bond is the desire to form connections with individuals and groups.  In the workplace this includes a desire to form relationships with both peers and managers.

Last week I wrote about the proven effectiveness of employee reward programs.  But those statistics assume your company is using an effective recognition program.  Unfortunately, some types of employee rewards are less helpful than others, or don't work at all.  If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, make sure you're investing in a program that works! So, how do you know if your reward programs for employees are working? Go to the source! Employees can give you the necessary feedback of what is working, what needs to be improved and what they ultimately want when it comes to recognition programs. This can be done through a 1-on-1 conversation, online surveys, or small team meetings. Additionally, be sure that your employees are in a comfortable and open environment where they can share their thoughts freely. At the end of the day, when you reward employees in the right way, it gives value and meaning to the work they produce daily. Below we discuss common employee recognition programs and simple fixes you can make so you can reward your employees in the right way. 3 Types of Employee Reward Programs That Simply Don't Work: 1. Tenure Programs In a recent study by Forbes, researchers found that 87% of recognition programs focus on tenure.  Employees are rewarded simply for staying at a company a really long time.  Unfortunately, rewarding tenure doesn't work.  As Forbes put it,
Tenure-based rewards systems have virtually no impact on organizational performance. Did you stay an extra year at your last job so you could get a 10-year pin? I doubt it. It turns out that many of these tenure-based rewards programs are really legacy programs from the turn of the century when labor unions forced management to give employees “service awards” and hourly raises for tenure. Most large companies still have these programs today, yet... for the most part they aren’t creating much value.

Employee Recognition is a major industry.  Today most companies spend 1-3% of payroll on employee rewards, for a total expenditure of $46 billion per year.  But is that investment actually profitable?  Does money spent on employee recognition reap real, measurable returns? The answer is yes.  Here are 4 recent studies that show the real, measurable, statistical difference between companies that invest in employee recognition programs, and companies that don't. 4 Statistics That Prove Employee Recognition Programs Are Effective: 1. Recognition Programs Reduce Turnover In a recent study by Forbes, companies that scored in the top 20% for building a "recognition-rich culture" enjoyed a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.  31% is huge!  Turnover costs companies thousands of dollars in recruiting, hiring, and training, to say nothing of the lower productivity of a disengaged or dissatisfied employee.  Most studies estimate that it costs 30-50% of their annual salary to replace an entry-level employee, and 150% of the annual salary of a mid-level employee.  A decrease in turnover of 31% could easily save your company tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Everybody knows that reward programs, perks, and bonuses are all beneficial in motivating current employees and making your company desirable to new recruits.  However, while some employee rewards are simply "fun", others have a significant impact on your employees' productivity and quality of life. 3 Types Of Rewards That Make A Significant Difference To Your Employees: 1. Onsite Daycare Onsite daycare is one of the most considerate and impactful perks you can offer your employees.  It's particularly significant for female employees, who are the fastest growing and most highly educated segment of the workforce.  When you allow your female employees to keep their children close (particularly babies who might still be nursing), you allow women to return to work much sooner after giving birth, and you decrease the emotional trauma and stress of parting from a child too soon.  Operating an onsite daycare at cost can be a huge financial savings to employees (vs. a for-profit daycare), and the proximity of the children allows parents to visit on breaks and over lunch hour, reducing sick days and increasing the family time that boosts happiness and focus.

When I was a poor university student, I waitressed at a steakhouse in Toronto.  One night I served a table of 20 extremely demanding individuals.  I ran my butt off bringing them refill after refill, until they finally sauntered out of the restaurant after midnight.  Whether they did their math wrong or they were just savages, I got stiffed on the tip.  This was a point in my life where $20 was the difference between the subway and take-out or walking and eating ramen, so I was devastated.  Seeing my disappointment, my fellow waitress offered to split her tips for the night.  She gave me half her $100 haul, and we both went home happy. That was a decade ago, but I'll never forget the girl who made a kind offer without being asked and without expecting anything in return.  It was only $50, but it made a huge difference to my well-being. The same lesson applies in the workplace.

I don't shop at Wal-Mart anymore.  I know it's the cheapest option, but I just don't care.  I would rather pay more for my groceries than suffer substandard food quality, search fruitlessly for an employee when I need help, and wait in their abominably long checkout lines. "Well", you might say, "You're in the minority.  Most people just want the cheapest possible price." Turns out, that's not true.  Customers do care about the quality of their service, and they're voting with their dollars.  While Wal-Mart enjoyed a tiny 1.2% rise in sales this year, Costco's most recent earnings report shows an 8% sales increase and an almost $70 million rise in membership fees. Why is Costco crushing Wal-mart?

Generation Y, Millennials, The YouTube Generation - whatever you want to call them, these are the 20-somethings who are entering the workforce and climbing the corporate ladder, becoming the lifeblood of the major companies in the United States.  The 70 million members of Generation Y are the fastest growing segment of the workforce.  And love them or hate them, as an increasingly prime portion of your employee base, you need to know how to motivate Generation Y, how to communicate, connect, and inspire. Generation Y isn't like Generation X.  They don't value the same things, and they aren't driven by the same forces.  So if you want to get the most out of your Generation Y employees, you need to shift your strategies.

How To Motivate Generation Y Employees:

1. Technology

Generation Y understands technology.  They don't just love it, they depend on it and they are enmeshed in it.  Generation Y uses technology for work, play, and socialization.  It is extremely frustrating for Generation Y when they don't have the technology they need to do their job in the most efficient manner possible.  My husband is an Apple addict.  He can do things on his MacBook that most Gen X-ers haven't seen outside of Star Trek.  So it drives him absolutely insane when he has to use a crappy old Dell laptop the size of a phonebook when he's running reports for the financial institution that employs him.  Companies think they're saving money by scraping by with old, outdated technology, but the loss of productivity is astronomical, not to mention the turnover from infuriated employees.  To lower the stress level of your employees and increase their output, provide them with the updated technology they want and need.

Everybody has been in one of those terrible romantic relationships where you feel like the other person just doesn't understand you.  This leads to frustration and resentment, and you eventually break up.  The same thing happens in a work environment: employees feel like management doesn't listen and doesn't understand.  They become frustrated and resentful, and eventually they quit. When you communicate effectively with your employees, they will be happier, more creative, and more productive.  A big part of communication is actually listening to your employees, and making sure you're interpreting and understanding them correctly.

5 Steps To Become A Better Listener:

1. Never Try To Multi-Task

You may think that you can check your email while talking on the phone, or mentally review another project while you have your morning meeting with your department heads, but the fact is, nobody can truly multi-task.  If you're not giving your employees 100% of your attention, you're not really listening.

Most businesses recognize that rewarding employees is a crucial part of building a positive work environment.  Employee reward programs increase motivation, improve production, and decrease turn-over.  Simply put, reward programs are an investment that pays handsome dividends.  But even knowing this, it can sometimes be difficult to free up the money to fund a reward program.  Luckily, rewards don't have to be expensive.  There are many cheap and even free things you do that substantially improve employee moral:

5 Ways To Reward Your Employees Without Breaking The Bank:

1. Nap Time

Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of workplace error, not to mention stress and lethargy.  Consider setting up a nap-time breakroom where employees can catch an hour's shuteye over lunch, or during a long afternoon when they need to recharge.  A cool, dark room with a few blankets and pillows won't cost much money, but can significantly increase your employee's health and focus.

2. Single Vacation Days

You may not be able to afford to give your employees an extra week or two weeks' vacation, but a single day off can be huge bonus when it comes unexpectedly.  Try rewarding your top producers with a random Wednesday or Friday to relax, recharge, or maybe do something fun.  When Mark Faust, author of Growth or Bust: Proven Turnaround Strategies to Grow Your Business rewards his employees with a day off, he always includes event tickets or a golf course pass:
Giving a vacation day is one thing, but a vacation day that includes the fee for the pay lake or greens fee is another.  They are being paid to fish or golf, and they have to do it—they aren’t stuck at home with a ‘honey do’ list or just a boring day off.