Managing employees and maintaining your team’s morale is difficult.
Having difficulty attracting high-quality talents and yet you are struggling with a high turnover rate? Probably it’s time to start creating an employee appreciation and recognition strategy.
According to a recent survey, 44% of employees that recently changed jobs admitted lack of recognition and engagement was the reason for leaving their last job. Another study suggested that more than 40% of surveyed employees who don’t feel recognized are not motivated in performing their work.
However, it’s not always easy to craft good employee recognition and appreciation. Simply giving a generic thank you gift once a year won’t cut it, and if you rely too much on traditional tactics, not only they’ll be boring, but your employees might feel the efforts are inauthentic, and so it will be counterproductive.
With that being said, here are some creative and effective employee recognition ideas that are both effective and easily doable.
Without further ado, let us begin right away.
Leadership Recognition VS Peer Recognition
When developing an employee recognition strategy, we have to consider that there are two different types of recognition, both can be equally effective in different situations:
1. Leadership recognition
Being recognized by the higher-ups can be very meaningful for employees. Leadership recognition shows that the company is paying attention to the employee’s efforts and accomplishments, which can be a major boost for the employee’s morale.
2. Peer recognition
Being appreciated by peers (other employees) can be equally valuable for employees, and in some cases can be even more effective than leadership recognition. The company should facilitate and encourage peer recognition, and establish a company-wide culture of peer recognition.
Recognition Ideas You Can Try in 2021
1. Monetary-based recognition awards
Rewarding employees in a monetary way might seem like an overused cliché, but it’s popular because it’s simply effective:
Leadership can offer monetary employees in various different ways and various different occasions, including but not limited to:
- Straight-up bonuses. You may want to check out this guide on how to effectively implement a bonus structure.
- Gift cards, employee recognition platforms like Guusto offer a versatile and reliable way to create a gift cards-based employee recognition program
- Free meals or coffee, you can also use gift cards in this case
- Promotions, pretty self-explanatory
These monetary rewards don’t need to cost too much money. Even a $10-$20 gift card to the employee’s favorite coffee shop can be very valuable for the said employee.
2. Experiential rewards
Experiential rewards are, essentially, rewards that give the employee something to do rather than simply giving them money or a gift.
Some examples include:
- Travel tickets
- Tickets to sporting events
- Free meal at a famous restaurant
And so on.
3. Lunch out
This is an effective approach for employees that do not prefer public recognition (and there are many). Leaders and managers can simply ask the employee to join them in a private lunch, probably in a restaurant of the employee’s choice or the new, hip restaurant in town.
This will also provide the chance for a meaningful private conversation where the leader can intimately share how much they appreciate the employee’s hard work and accomplishment.
4. Public recognition
On the other hand, for employees who prefer public recognition, leaders can plan to give a shout-out to the said employee at the next regular staff meeting or even ask everyone else in the room to applaud the employee.
The benefit of this approach is twofold: it will help the said employee feel appreciated by both the leader and their peers, and it will also motivate the other employees in the company so they’ll achieve the same level of great work.
5. Office outing
A great recognition idea if you’d like to appreciate the whole team and not a specific employee. Treat the team (or even the whole company) to an office outing.
However, when planning team-wide or company-wide activities, make sure to consider the unique needs and preferences of different team members. For example, avoiding alcohol and certain types of foods that might alienate some employees. It’s best to choose a neutral and relaxing activity that everyone can enjoy.
6. Surprise time off
Not always applicable depending on your organization’s schedule, but if it’s possible, you can surprise your employees (or a specific team/specific employee) with a day off as a gift for their hard work.
For employees that rarely take their days off, you can make this a mandatory paid time off, and you can combine this with other ideas, like giving them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or a ticket to their favorite holiday destination.
7. Facilitating peer appreciation events
You can help organize and host employee recognition events to help facilitate peer appreciation, such as:
- Surprise appreciation events: everybody loves surprises, and you can organize surprise celebrations for an employee/team who has achieved certain milestones and/or has performed exceptionally well.
- Annual appreciation parties: you can make the event regular as your company’s tradition. This will also motivate your employees as they’ll get something to look forward to
- Offsite day or outing: doesn’t have to be something big; organize an offsite day at the nearest library or coffee shop, for example. Yet, you can also organize larger outing events when necessary.
8. Celebrating years of service/loyalty awards
Recognition and appreciation awards shouldn’t only focus on successful milestones and project success, but also tenure and employee loyalty.
Employee appreciation awards based on service tenure are important and will be effective in lowering your turnover rate. The employees being recognized can get an extra boost in motivation both from leaders and peers so they can stay engaged in their next projects, but on the other hand, this type of appreciation can also help encourage newer employees to stay committed to the company. They see how others are rewarded and appreciated based on loyalty, so they’ll get extra motivation to stay loyal.
The employee recognition ideas and examples we have shared above can be a great start, and you can use them as your foundation while adding more ideas and tactics.
Making employee recognition a regular thing, or even better, as your company culture can help in maintaining your team’s morale high and improve their productivity.
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