They may be some of the most stressed workers in the world, but a majority of employees in Hong Kong agree that financial incentives would work best in motivating them to perform better.
Four in five service sector staff have opted for financial incentives, followed by opportunities for promotion (70%), in a new study by Ipsos and Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence.
However, softer aspects of recognition, such a thank-you card or praise in front of colleagues also found favour.
Employees stated paid leave (57%) and a simple thank-you note from customers (50%) as good ways of appreciation, while more than one-third desired verbal appreciation from their managers, in front of their colleagues.
Most employees are “satisfied” with their company’s current employee recognition programme (46%), but almost one in three opted to stay neutral on the subject, pointing to room for improvement.
For instance, while 15% of employees received their last recognition from their employers more than one year ago, about one in every ten have never received recognition at all. However, more than 20% said they were last recognised for their efforts between one to four weeks ago.
The report recommends a closer integration of recognition programmes with appraisal systems. More than half of employees stated they would prefer a written record of their recognition on their appraisal form.
A quarter of them recommended an informal record be maintained, in the form of a simple handshake during a team meeting, while about one-fifth opted for a formal setting with a grand ceremony to recognise their efforts.
Speed proved to be a key challenge for employers looking to act on these results.
“It takes a long time to process the appreciation. We have to collect all appreciation letters, sort them out and appreciate. Some employees have already forgotten about the whole episode,” noted one respondent who was part of the roundtable discussion accompanying the report.