Employee satisfaction has become a trending buzzword in the post-COVID era, with thousands of organizations becoming more employee-centric to hire and retain the best talent. The modern workforce wants more flexibility, autonomy, and recognition than their counterparts. Thus, showing that you value their well-being and their contribution could be the key to unlocking a new level of productivity and performance.
Most businesses understand the importance of employee recognition. Yet, many companies still either overlook its importance or fail to find ways to recognize their employees. Thus, in this article, I’ll share five employee recognition tips so you can maximize your team’s morale and business success.
What Is Employee Recognition, and Why Does it Matter?
Employee recognition refers to the informal or formal ways an organization can acknowledge and appreciate their employees’ contributions. Recognition can take various forms and may not always involve monetary compensation. Modern organizations typically recognize employees for:
▪ Achievements (timely project completion, sales/revenue target attainment, deal securement, etc.).
▪ Different milestones within the company, including employee tenure.
▪ Excellent work ethic and following of policies.
▪ Getting better results than expected.
In the modern age, recognition has become a part of many workplace cultures as the post-pandemic workforce has a strong desire for positive affirmation, especially when working in uncertainty. Therefore, it can be used to:
▪ Retain top talent
▪ Increase and maintain high performance
▪ Improve collaboration and communication
▪ Improve employee well-being, etc.
5 Employee Recognition Tips for Modern Organizations
Today, even some of the most employee-centric organizations face challenges when creating a strong culture of recognition in their workplace. There’s no universal program or strategy you can use for this purpose. However, some tried-and-tested ways have given meaningful recognition to your workforce. Here are five tips you can use:
1. Say Thank You
Just because you’re the boss or manager doesn’t mean you shouldn’t forego traits like humility and empathy. So, never shy away from saying thank you to an individual or team, even for the smallest of tasks or interactions. Appreciation may look simple, but it’s one of the most powerful gestures you can use to recognize employees.
When employees feel appreciated, it boosts their morale and dedication. However, this only works when the thank you comes from the heart. Modern employees, especially experienced ones, know when their manager is sincere and when they’re faking it. To prove that your intentions are pure, appreciate them even when they fail.
2. Celebrate Small Achievements Quickly and Regularly
You don’t have to throw a huge party or celebration when you secure a high-profile client or complete a project. Instead, you should celebrate small successes during the project or communications to ensure they put in their 100% and get over the line to keep employees motivated. For instance, if you see your team working over time, you can appreciate their efforts by hosting a coffee or pizza party.
You could also give them a happy hour or allow a late coming the next day, so they come in fresh and fully-rested.
3. Distribute Non-Cash Rewards
Don’t get us wrong; no employee would say no to a fat bonus check. However, cash incentives don’t often have the power to prompt employees into going the extra mile. Modern employees like experiences and more thoughtful gestures, such as tickets to a movie, a free spa day, picnics, and gifts. You can also host an internal awards program to reward your best-performing employees with custom products or trophies.
These alternate, often intangible rewards improve your employees’ self-esteem and motivate them to go even further, in terms of productivity and performance. These innovative tokens of appreciation serve as reminders of their hard work and contributions.
4. Quarterly or Semi-Annual Events
One of the best ways to build a culture of recognition is to host regular company events, such as retreats, trips, and dinners. Employees, especially those who work the same routines, need a break from business to rejuvenate and maintain their mental health. You don’t have to go all out every time. For instance, you can hold a major event once a year and a few small ones, such as:
▪ Employee trivia night
▪ Sports competitions
▪ Workstations for your best-performing employees
▪ Team-building events with lunch
5. Encourage and Facilitate Peer Recognition
Organizations with a recognition culture don’t just rely on managers and leaders to appreciate their teams. Instead, they foster a workplace environment where employees appreciate each other during their collaborations or communications. This goes especially for teams working in the same department or on the same project who can use praise and positive feedback to celebrate micro wins.
However, leaders and managers need to craft a strategy that creates engagement opportunities to facilitate peer recognition. For instance, you can use social shout-outs or give public recognition to outstanding employees at a company event.
Recognition has gradually become one of the most important drivers of success in the post-pandemic digital age, especially following the Great Resignation in 2021.
However, learning how to give real recognition to your employees requires time, patience, and a solid understanding of your employees. Everyone’s drivers of optimal performance are different. However, most companies confirm that the modern workforce wants more respect, communication, and acknowledgment from their employers, along with tangible incentives and rewards.