Employee recognition can be given in many forms—money, praise, time off, fun activities, food, cookies, ice cream, perks, travel, or any number of rewards that fit your organization’s culture and bring smiles to employees.
Organizations that show appreciation for their employees frequently and in a genuine way demonstrate that they truly recognize and value their employees’ efforts. They show some love for their employees, and that can strengthen the relationship employees have with the organization.
Great employee recognition programs have a few common characteristics. If you align your efforts with these characteristics, your employees will likely develop a greater bond with the organization and its leaders.
Employee recognition must be given from the heart, not done because it’s part of some corporate initiative. Empower employees to recognize others without having to go through a cumbersome process. Teach leaders and managers to give praise for good work naturally and clearly. Work to ensure your recognition, in whatever form it takes, is fun and enhances your organization’s credibility.
Recognize individuals and teams frequently to show your appreciation of and commitment to employees. Offer a range of rewards, from simple thank you notes to monetary rewards to major recognition packages. Keep track of the recognition given—you know some employees will—and report it openly to show the volume and variety of appreciation given. Analyze the data and improve your program. It will help build a culture of recognition.
Fairness is one of the most challenging traits for companies to master. Much depends on managers and whether they as a group give employee recognition fairly and consistently. A good employee appreciation culture ensures that recognition is given fairly to those who deserve it and for good reasons. It is consistent and applied fairly across the organization. Everyone can participate. Don’t forget your remote employees. They need some love, too.
Ensure fairness by being transparent in your process and the recognition you give. Fairness and transparency build respect for the organization and may encourage participation. Publicly highlight those who you recognize and keep the information about the recognition easily available for a long time. For each reward, explain what was done to earn it, how it helps the organization or others, and why it is important to recognize the employee’s actions. Announce the recognition with some degree of fanfare so that it gets noticed, which the recipients will appreciate.
“What did that person do to deserve it?” someone may ask. Make sure the answer is easy to see and includes specifics of what was done to earn the recognition. Describe key information with each recognition note: who, what, when, where and why. Give numbers to show impact. Use quotes from others to show importance. The more specifics you can give about why someone was recognized, the more you highlight what you value. Giving specifics may even encourage others to make similar efforts.
If you incorporate these five characteristics—genuine, frequent, fair, transparent, and specific—into your employee recognition program, you will show your employees you love and appreciate them. And that will bring smiles to their faces.
What does your organization do to recognize employees? How do you make your recognition program great? Please offer a comment to help us all learn and improve.