Managers are always looking for ways to improve their team’s productivity, performance, and motivation. They invest in software, tools, and programs that encourage employees to increase their output, efficiency, and attitude. But, there is a very simple way to encourage your team to do better. It’s through employee recognition.
Employee recognition can boost performance and support a strong workplace culture that makes things better for employees, managers, and even customers.
Let’s look at why employee recognition is so important and explore a few ways to show your team that you appreciate them — in a way that they will appreciate.
Why Employee Recognition Is Important
Employee recognition can create a positive effect on an organization. When employers and managers take time to recognize the contributions of their team and offer performance feedback, it can result in benefits for everyone involved.
A survey of over 1,500 workers, conducted by SurveyMonkey and Bonusly, found that 82% of respondents said they are happier when they’re recognized at work.
Employee recognition boosts employee morale and can:
- Increase employee productivity and performance
- Motivate employees
- Improve job satisfaction
- Build and sustain a positive workplace culture
- Build trust between managers and employees
- Lead to better customer service
- Help retain top talent
Showing recognition can improve employee experience and lead to better outcomes for every stakeholder at an organization. If you aren’t showing employees appreciation, it might be time to start.
Related: How to Build and Sustain a Strong Employer Brand
The Types of Employee Recognition
As you think about ways to show recognition and appreciation to your team, consider the different approaches you can take.
- Manager-to-Peer: One of the more common ways to show recognition is when a superior or manager highlights one of their team members.
- Peer-to-Peer: Recognition doesn’t always have to flow from the top down. Peer-to-peer recognition is where one team member recognizes another.
- Behavior: You can recognize an employee because of their behavior. Behavioral recognition refers to actions a team member has taken such as showing signs of leadership, offering a useful or strategy for a project, assisting another department in a productive way, etc.
- Achievement: Achievement recognition is tied to measurable metrics and milestones, such as meeting a specific KPI, completing a training, reaching a work anniversary, etc.
- Public: Public displays of appreciation may recognize employees in front of a specific department, the entire organization, or even publicly to partners and customers.
- Private: Private recognition could be shared one-on-one or in a private forum or portal.
Knowing these categories can help your brainstorm different ways to show employee recognition within your organization.
Consider how you can combine different approaches, and test out a few ways to show appreciation and see what resonates best with your team.
For example, you may have a private peer-to-peer recognition system where colleagues can submit a team member through an online portal. Or, you could ask managers to publicly praise milestones of their team during company-wide meetings.
The Best Way to Show Employee Recognition
Employee recognition doesn’t necessarily mean an employee gets anything more than praise. At its most basic form, employee recognition is an acknowledgment. It could be something as small as a shout-out in a meeting.
But, studies have found that pairing recognition with tangible rewards can boost the effectiveness of showing appreciation to your employees.
A survey conducted by SurveyMonkey and Bonusly found that employees most appreciated a certain type of recognition — money.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of participants said they most liked to be recognized at work through cash bonuses.
Compared the 57% to just 20% preferring visibility to leaders and 17% preferring awards, and it’s clear that money talks.
Employees are most excited about receiving recognition in the form of monetary bonuses and prizes.
Now, that doesn’t mean other types of recognition are worthless. If providing financial rewards as a form of employee appreciation are out of your means, you can do it in other ways.
Other Ways to Show Employee Recognition
There are almost endless ideas when it comes to showing employee recognition. As you come up with ideas, keep one thing in mind: your company culture.
Let the culture of your company guide you.
For example, if you run a professional legal office, it might not make sense to have an employee appreciation day where high-performing employees get to wear their pajamas and watch a movie on a Friday afternoon. But, that might make sense at a tech start-up with “move fast, break things” mentality.
Choose what is right for your organization and employees. Here are some ideas.
- Give gift cards to nearby lunch spots.
- Offer a priority parking spot.
- Feature an employee on your website or through your social media channels.
- Build a wall-of-fame.
- Provide a paid day off.
- Donate to the individual’s chosen charity.
- Deliver a hand-written “thank you” card.
- Provide coupons for small benefits around the office (leave 15 early, choose office music, etc.)
Another important thing to keep in mind as you go through this process is: what would the employees like?
Remember, this is about them. You want them to feel appreciated and rewarded.
Make sure the recognition you provide is something your team will actually enjoy. Try out new tactics and get feedback from your team to create a program that your team will appreciate and respond to.
Build Better Talent Experiences
Showing employee recognition is just one way to create a positive experience for your team members. For more tips on how to build a better workplace, sign up for the Align HCM newsletter to get tips on employee engagement, workplace culture, and talent acquisition.