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The Importance of Employee Recognition

A good manager knows that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and different employees respond to different kinds of motivation and recognition. For some, being recognized in front of their peers means a lot, while others prefer a more personal form of recognition. In his book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, Bob Nelson explains that, “part of the power of such rewards comes from the knowledge that someone took the time to notice the achievement, seek out the employee responsible, and personally deliver praise in a timely manner.” Nelson suggests that, “managers need to think about what their employees need and what’s important to them.” So what matters to your employees?

Here are a few different ways managers can reward and recognize their teams:

Give them an extra day off.

Why not give your team a free Friday one week come summer? It gives them the chance to take a three day weekend without having to tap into their vacation or personal time. Plenty of people value time more than they value money, so an extra day off means a lot more than just tacking on an extra day’s pay to their next paycheck.

Plan a company trip.

Why not take your whole staff out of the office for a day and try something new and fun? Plan something that has nothing to do with work like go-karting, paintball, laser tag, or a company field day. It gives your team a chance to blow off steam and bond as friends and not just cube-mates. If you can swing it why not have your employees invite their families as well?

Hold an annual award ceremony.

You can make a company recognition ceremony as formal or informal as you want. Big companies can pull out all the stops with a whole corporate show, but smaller companies can hand out awards that are just as meaningful even without the bells and whistles. You can hand out awards for the usual, things like top sales representative of the year, but you can also create awards for best customer service story, most valuable team player, and other awards that recognize employees whose contributions may not impact the bottom line but still have a positive effect on the company. Be sure to let your employees nominate each other for awards as well. Peer-to-peer recognition can make all the difference.

Give employees personalized tokens of appreciation.

One of the best ways to recognize an employee is with a personalized token of appreciation. For instance, for that employee that is constantly tending to the coffee machine maybe you get them a nice French press they can keep at their desk. Or for the employee that is always bringing in home-baked goods for the rest of the office you get them a gift card to Williams-Sonoma. These personalized gifts show your staff that you know a little bit about them as actual people, and not just as employees. They can mean a lot more than just an Amazon gift card or even cash.