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How to Do Employee Recognition the Right Way

February 22, 2021

By: Kristen Riley

This month we've focused strategically on employee recognition and appreciation. We've explored why personal insights and personalization is important in:

Now it's time to examine the "how." How do you show employee appreciation in the most beneficial ways? Is it difficult? Is it worth the effort?

Before we dive into the “how” let's acknowledge the “why”.

Why is Proper Employee Recognition Important?

A recent survey discovered that 55% of respondents said they were planning to switch jobs. Why? Their number 1 reason was lack of recognition. Another survey, this one by Recognition Source, shows 69% of employees reporting they would work harder if they were better recognized.

People want to be treated like they matter. We can see employee recognition is strongly linked to job performance, retention rates, and turnover. With the excessive costs associated with replacing a seasoned, trained employee, a little recognition and engagement can go a long way.

So, let’s break down how to do this. First, it helps to know your team. Our behavioral assessment is an ideal way to uncover personality traits, strengths, and challenge areas that could take years to identify. With a variety of reports to fit any need, including building an employee recognition strategy, you’ll be ahead of the curve in no time.

Top 5 Ways to Appreciate Your Outgoing/Social Employees

  1. Put achievements on display: It's simple and shows employees you notice them. For example, a daily sales tracker or leaderboard is a terrific way to highlight current wins and promote friendly competition. These can be in person or online, depending on your office setup, and can be a fun way to let colleagues get in on the praise.
  2. Be vocal: Call out an individual's big wins or achievements in company-wide meetings. If a colleague praises a coworker in a meeting, let that coworker know. During our Omnia Sales and Service meetings we schedule 10 minutes to shout out wins and achievements. It’s a fantastic way to brag on yourself or a colleague and wrap up a meeting with positive energy.
  3. Go public with your appreciation: Go beyond company meetings by highlighting achievements to customers, partners, and principles through signage or social media. Take a photo, share how they earned this award or acknowledgement, and talk about how much you value their effort.
  4. Have a lunch and learn: It's a little out of the box, but trust us, social people enjoy sharing what they love. In fact, most of us like a chance to let others know interesting things about ourselves. Set aside a time when a team member can share a hobby or interest, skill or technique, with the team. It's a fun way to get to know each other and learn what you may never have thought to ask about.
  5. Write a LinkedIn recommendation: It's personal, meaningful, and an endorsement for someone's hard work. This is an underrated gesture that communicates your appreciation of a team member, but also that you care about their future success—even if it's not at your company. Plus, it's free. LinkedIn recommendations are the gold star of public recognition because it's truly public.

Top 5 Ways to Appreciate Your More Reserved Employees

  1. Survey your staff: Ask your employees how they would like to be recognized. You may be surprised, but you can feel confident that you reward your team with something they value.
  2. Thank you notes and cards: A physical, hand-written note thanking a staff member for their work can go a long way in a digital world. Whether it's a simple post-it note or a quality piece of cardstock, placing this on their desk or mailing it to their home office can be a huge esteem boost.
  3. Do paid charity days: This can be individual or part of a thoughtful team building exercise. Survey the team for common goals and interests. Match up small teams or encourage charity days to show employees you appreciate their work in and out of the office. Of course, make sure your staff is paid for this day. Otherwise, you don't recognize them as valuable – you simply force them to give up a day for free.
  4. Say "thank you"! It's easy, free, and quick, but often overlooked. Some business owners take for granted that employees are there to do the work. A thank you is such a straightforward way to show appreciation. Studies show there's a noticeable difference in attitude between a staff whose boss genuinely thanks them compared to one where the staff never hears praise. While not everyone needs a "thank you" to do a respectable job, it won't hurt. Plus, it's going to mean a lot to those who do need to hear it periodically.
  5. A hobby-related gift card: Not every "thank you" comes at a cost, but a little gift can go a long way. My manager gifted me an Etsy gift card after a project I tackled as a thank you with a personalized note referencing some things we'd discussed in the past. That was months ago, and I still think about it fondly. Listen to what your employees get excited about and remember one or two little things when the opportunity arises. It goes a long way, trust me.

Winning solutions for every type

  1. Give employees a real choice and a real voice: Build a strong culture by encouraging employees to speak up and have management listen. Does your staff get to choose any projects they work on? Do you actively listen to their ideas or concerns and act on them when possible? Genuine appreciation is foundational.
  2. Give rewards that are career-based: This doubles as a bonus for your business as well. Sending employees to leadership training or an online business-related class, even if not directly related to their current job tasks, shows your employees you're invested in them and their careers.
  3. Encourage continuing education: Whether you help offset educational costs or provide time off to attend educational events, you're showing you appreciate them so much you want them to keep growing in their careers.
  4. Highlight how your business has a positive impact on the community: Whether through green energy initiatives, matching donation programs, or volunteer hours (consider combined with #8 above), let your employees know the work they do is appreciated by you and by the community.

Now you know why employee appreciation is important for retention and productivity and how it affects your company culture and bottom line. Adding personalization through behavioral assessments, team surveys, or even town halls, you can make sure your team is engaged, valued, and recognized for the work they do.

Remember, everyone appreciates praise, but not everyone appreciates it in the same ways. Understanding and implementing recognition in personalized ways will have positive effects.

Kristen Riley

Marketing Program Manager for The Omnia Group. Kristen manages the online presence, inbound marketing strategy, and thrives at the intersection of analysis and creativity. She has 15 years’ experience in traditional and digital marketing, the perfect career for a life-long learner. Kristen is excited to educate professionals on how Omnia can help create a more cohesive workplace. For more information, email info@omniagroup.com or call 800.525.7117

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