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Tips on Effectively Recognizing Employees

You might think an obvious increase in salary would do the trick, but you'd be surprised; people like receiving sincere thanks with something tangible they can display and be reminded about. No one is framing their paycheck. Plus, a salary increase is not a feasible idea since it only happens once or twice a year, while employee recognition is something that should be constant.

Financial incentives are great, for sure. But there's a danger in assigning dollar values to every achievement. People crave something deeper, like positive feedback and recognition for extra effort. Fortunately for companies, recognition doesn't cost them anything, except time.

One increasingly popular form of employee recognition is awards. Receiving a reward has a visceral emotion. This goes back to the positive emotions of receiving a reward in school. Receiving a reward makes us feel significant (which is one of our 6 psychological needs). Many employers view employee recognition ceremonies as a nice thing to do, but it also has a slew of benefits. For instance, employees are more likely to produce better work along with encouraging others to work harder to achieve the same recognition. Additionally, a reward can be placed on the employee's desk which acts as a constant reminder of what they can expect when they work hard and produce results.

Those who are thinking about hosting an employee recognition ceremony should keep a couple tips in mind.

Employee Recognition Tips

1. Every employee needs to be eligible for the custom awards.

All employees need to be aware of the reasoning behind the award, and what the person did to earn it. This way, they are able to attempt the same feat to earn that treasured crystal award.

2. The amount of awards should not be limited.

Every person who achieves the set of regulations should be honored as well. These custom crystal awards can be given out soon after the performance occurs to better reinforce the behavior.

3. Recognize Employees who Exceed Goals

It can be difficult to know when to recognize and praise employees. Should you do it all the time or now and again? Should you praise only individuals or the entire team? Employee recognition should be reserved for a person or team that has gone above and beyond normal expectations. Needless to say, it's important to clearly communicate what "normal" expectations entail. Someone who constantly pitches good ideas, meets deadlines early, works harmoniously with others, or exceeds any kind of benchmark (sales or otherwise) deserves recognition.

4. Celebrate anniversary milestones

In the market where job-hopping is the norm after 1.5 years, someone growing with the company for a few years is significant.

Importance of Employee Recognition

You'd have a hard time finding anyone who doesn't like being recognized for his/her work. Some people might not like public recognition, but any form of recognition is critical to employee retention. That's because motivation comes from both internal and external factors. People are motivated by their own desire for success and appreciation can fuel that motivation even more.

Humans have a fundamental need to be valued and appreciated. High turnover of employees occurs when they don't feel acknowledged for their contribution. Companies with low employee retention pay for it in terms of money and time, as well as suffering from loss of productivity and poor performance.

It's not always easy for companies to figure out which employees are making a huge difference around the office and may need to earn some recognition. In today's high paced society, making the time to ensure workers are happy and rewarding those who continue to go above and beyond to benefit the workplace can sometimes slip under the rug. However, finding the time to do so can not only boost an employee's morale and will to work harder, but may also encourage others to step up their game. Here are a few ideas for revamping your employee recognition program:

It's about more than praise

Sure, your company might dish out gift cards to places like Amazon or local restaurants to employees who have the most sales in a certain month or who have made a difference in another way. While praise like this will likely help a worker feel better about all the effort he or she has put in, sometimes it's not enough.

Instead of offering gifts, you might want to take the time to get to know such gifted workers on a more personal level. Opting to take certain individuals out for lunch or even to a ball game to show your appreciation can seem more heartfelt than a generic offering like a gift certificate. Outings like these will help show a great worker that he or she matters and might show the employee that their diligence comes with actual rewards.

Praise from the top tier

Managers and lower-level bosses are typically the employees that recognize team members' hard work and in return, handing out things like custom plaques and trophies or other prizes to show certain workers they are doing a good job. While earring recognition from these types of people is always nice, getting some attention from the higher-ups is an even bigger compliment.

Bosses aren't likely on the frontlines day in and day out, so to achieve this step, it will take some work from the lower managers, but the results could make the extra effort worth it. Sending along emails to the upper managers about how hard working or impressive certain employees are could help the bosses learn who might need a raise, or at the very least, which workers are deserving of praise.

Getting a pat on the back from the boss is a great motivator for an employee, while it can also encourage others to try harder as well.

Employee Appreciation Ideas

Sincere compliments, when done properly, are worth their weight in gold. When you reward your employees, be sure to follow these simple rules:

1. Thank the Person by Their Name

People respond to their own names positively and fondly. It also reminds them they're not just some cogs in the wheel.

2. Be Specific with what You're Recognizing Them For

Generic "thanks" or a pat on the back is just patronizing. Tie the recognition to specific actions. This helps employees determine what they're doing well and what they can improve on. Tying the recognition to a business goal also reinforces the company's vision and makes it more meaningful to them. Feeling "connected" to the company's mission is one of the best employee retention strategies.

3. Remember, Every Employee is Different

Some people don't like to be recognized publicly, while others do. It's more meaningful to find out what employees value and customize acknowledgment for each of them. Only then trophies and gift cards become appropriate.

4. Make it official.

For truly extraordinary accomplishments, official acknowledgement should be placed in an employee's file.