by Lea Schneider
Building a successful recognition program becomes a way to let employees know how they are doing. Everyone loves a pat on the back, and they shouldn’t need to wait until they flip over the calendar and see it’s Employee Appreciation Day to get one.
If you need a push to set up a recognition program, keep in mind that Harvard Business Review reports 69 percent of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized. That in itself is a statistic worth achieving.
Employee recognition can come in the face of business accomplishments. It can also come by identifying personal milestones of those that work for you. Remembering a birthday, a new child or a marriage with a gift is a good way to build loyalty and make your employee feel they matter.
Look for business behaviors warranting praise. Meeting goals, exceeding goals, bringing in a new account or closing a deal are certainly commendation- and gift-worthy. There are other actions deserving of a “spot reward,” meaning recognition or reward on the spot. These include being highly motivated (because it is certainly infectious), going above and beyond, training others well and building great customer relationships.
Reward Ideas to Try.
Some rewards will naturally be long-term, and others are short and in-the-moment. A mixture of both spot rewards and longer rewards, such as a raise, are beneficial in recognizing employees. Try any of these methods to start.
Everyone loves one-on-one recognition. Employees treasure you taking the time to write them a personal note and tell them what they are doing great.
Shout It Out.
Thank someone in front of the team or department. Call them out and tell others what they have done great and why it is appreciated.
Keep Gifts Handy.
Employee recognition day may be a long way off, and the time to catch someone doing great is when it happens. Stock up on incentive prizes that can be doled out right at the moment you realize they deserve it. Gift cards are an easy way to give a reward they will enjoy without the issue of keeping cash on hand.
Assign Special Projects.
Being chosen for something outside of your normal job description is usually seen as a pat on the back. Use special assignments as a reward for great work.
Share recognition with the public. Put up an employee of the month sign or give them a front and center marked parking spot. Highlight them in a social media post or on your website.
Recognize that your employees want to grow. Allow them to branch out by attending a seminar, conference or learning opportunity. Or, have them be a company representative at a charity event.
Call Them In.
Give “called to the boss’s office” a twist by using it as a reward, not as a punishment. When your employee arrives, talk about all the things they have done right, congratulate them on their work and then send them on their way.
Take your employee out to lunch. Give them an opportunity to talk about ideas they’d like to try or how they’d like to grow.
Reward a hard worker with the chance to go home early one day or work from home another day.
Pass out company swag as a reward. Give away ball caps, logo-embroidered shirts, travel mugs or backpacks with some company pride on them.
Remember that quick-to-give items, such as gift cards or apparel, bring immediate recognition on top of praise. As you consider what to include in your recognition program, think about how to link rewards to individual and company goals. This type of strategic reward system will reinforce the attributes that make your company strong.
Lea Schneider is a recognized organizational expert, who brings both personal experience and professional expertise to home and family topics for her writing for Home Depot. She recommends consumers utilize gift cards to stay on budget when giving gifts for various business milestones.