When your team is going above and beyond, employee recognition ideas can go a long way to helping them feel valued. Certainly, big achievements like hitting sales quotas or landing a new client are worthy of celebration but remember the little things.
Employees who witness recognition in action have higher morale, are more productive, and are less likely to leave.
1. Go the Extra Mile
Today’s employees want more than just free snacks and company parties. They expect their organization will value them as individuals and recognize their accomplishments as part of a larger culture of appreciation. This is a key shift companies must make to compete in the talent market.
Regarding employee recognition, the most meaningful experiences are personalized and authentic. Generic, transactional recognition will have a different impact than you’re hoping for. Whether praising in person or on social media, be sure it’s specific and sincere. For example, if an employee is a big contributor to your team’s success on a project, call out their contributions in a company meeting or send a memo.
You can also go the extra mile by providing meaningful awards. Gift cards and dinners out are nice, but the best awards combine a personal gift that appeals to an individual with a symbolic item that connects back to your culture. Find out how this approach helped a company transform its recognition culture and boost employee engagement by 50%.
Investing in an employee’s career is another powerful way to demonstrate appreciation. Whether recommending them for a new role or endorsing their skills, this kind of recognition can go a long way in making employees feel supported and connected to your organizational mission.
Limit recognition to a single day or year-long event like Employee Appreciation Day or an annual awards ceremony. Recognition needs to be an everyday experience in your workplace to be effective. This can be as simple as having a dedicated space where employees can leave each other recognition shoutouts or creating a Slack channel for peer-to-peer recognition.
2. Send a Personal Note
A personalized note is a great way to show appreciation. It can be a letter, email, or phone call expressing how much you value the employee. Mention specific actions that impressed you, like helping a teammate or representing the company. This helps employees understand their impact and motivates them to continue excelling.
It’s also important to recognize employees regularly so that it becomes an everyday part of the culture. It can’t be reserved for a special awards ceremony or Employee Appreciation Day. It must be a daily part of the culture to impact and motivate your team. This can be done by sending a Kudos in Slack or another tool, speaking to them about it in an All-Hands meeting or 1:1, or even offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Additionally, you should encourage peer recognition as well. A Great Place to Work survey found that 41% of employees want more recognition from their peers than their supervisors. You can help to inspire this by implementing a system that includes an easy-to-use, robust peer-to-peer recognition functionality. This will make it easy for your team to recognize their coworkers and create a more positive culture. A great example is how BDC implemented new tools and practices to help their employees express their appreciation for one another, which was an enormous contributor to their strong culture during the pandemic.
3. Invest in Their Career
Rather than only focusing on monetary rewards, consider other ways to show your employees that you appreciate them. For example, if an employee gives a great presentation, give them a shoutout in a company-wide meeting, or send them a personal note. These simple, quick, and easy gestures show your team that you value their hard work and efforts for the company.
Modern workers bring their whole selves to the job and want to feel that their work matters to their company. A good culture of recognition allows them to fulfill that need and feel like their work is meaningful and worth doing.
Employees who feel their efforts and achievements are valued will be motivated to continue putting in extra effort at work. They will be more likely to stay with the company, and their work will be more productive. This is why creating a culture of appreciation in your workplace is so important.
A great place to start is by implementing a dedicated space for peer-to-peer recognition. Vantage Circle is a great tool that allows managers to easily recognize their employees in a private and secure platform, where they can also encourage other team members to do the same.
The most important thing to remember when building a culture of recognition is that it’s not about the individual act of recognition but about how it makes employees feel. The best way to help your team grow and thrive is to show them you value their efforts and commitment. With the right strategy and tools, you can build a strong appreciation culture in your workplace that inspires and motivates your team to succeed.
4. Give Them Some Extra Time Off
Often, the most meaningful employee recognition can be found in the form of a day off. Whether it’s a day to catch up on sleep or a chance to finally go to the beach, giving employees some time off is one of the best ways to show them that you appreciate their hard work and efforts.
Employees appreciate rewards for their hard work but also value personal recognition and professional growth. Recognizing career milestones and giving meaningful gifts creates a lasting impact.
Immediate recognition is vital. Acknowledge a great presentation or achievement right away instead of waiting for a review. This keeps employees engaged, motivated, and proud, fostering a successful workplace culture.
Everyone prefers different forms of appreciation, so figuring out what motivates each team member is crucial. Public praise is the most powerful for some, while others might prefer a private exchange. Knowing each team member’s primary language of appreciation will make the experience more authentic and impactful.
Developing a culture of recognition is an essential part of any organization. When a company values its employees, they will be more loyal to the organization and likelier to stay in their job. Creating a system of employee recognition will also benefit the organization by reducing costs and increasing productivity. It is important to celebrate the big accomplishments, but it’s equally as vital to recognize the small wins along the way.
5. Make a Difference
Instilling a culture of appreciation can help managers improve employee engagement, ultimately benefiting the business. However, it can take a lot of work to keep up with a consistent recognition practice, especially during times of stress or busyness. To attract the best employees, prioritize positive reinforcement during 1-on-1s and team meetings. Additionally, make sure to track your employees’ successes so you can provide them with valuable feedback. This can involve sending a thank you note, offering extra incentives or rewards, or celebrating their accomplishments.
Another way to increase the impact of your recognition efforts is by making it more social. Leverage the positive impacts of social media by encouraging your team members to acknowledge and appreciate one another. Facilitate the sharing of praise through social media platforms or during company meetings. This enjoyable and effortless approach fosters active participation in the recognition process and cultivates a stronger sense of connection among coworkers.
When praising an employee, be specific about what you appreciate about their work. This helps them know that you truly value their efforts and aren’t just saying a generic “thanks” to everyone. It also makes the recognition more meaningful, which increases its impact on the employee.
Creating a culture of appreciation should extend beyond high-performing employees. Everyone, including lower-level workers, should receive recognition for the organization’s success.
To make your employee recognition ideas and practices more effective, you need to make it a daily part of your company culture. It can’t be reserved for awards ceremonies or Employee Appreciation Day; rather, it must occur frequently to reinforce the company’s commitment to employee recognition.