Whether you’re the head of HR for a large multi-national corporation or the manager of a small retail store, odds are you aren’t giving your employees the recognition they want or deserve. And yet we know good employees are more likely to leave a company if they don’t feel appreciated.
Creating a simple system to recognize employees for their hard work can help retain good employees and motivate existing employees to work harder.
You can schedule periodic recognition for the entire staff. For example, if you have periodic busy times, once things slow down, treat everyone to coffee and muffins or gift cards to a local eatery. Another idea is to choose a holiday that is not normally recognized by employers. Surprise your staff with funny gifts for Groundhog Day or St. Patrick’s Day. They’ll have fun and the surprise will make them appreciate it more. One word of warning. Don’t do this at Christmas. Many employees expect a Christmas bonus and getting a muffin will seem like a cheap cop out.
Recognize a group or department
You don’t want to forget to recognize people for their hard work. If a department or team has done an exceptional job on a difficult project, give them all a special bonus. It doesn’t need to be expensive; a business card holder or a pen given as recognition of hard work can really make a difference.
While it’s important to recognize groups, don’t forget individual effort. There’s nothing more demoralizing than having a slacker get recognized when the really hard workers are ignored. So be sure to reward people for their effort. It’s easy for managers to feel like “she’s just doing her job” but everyone appreciates a pat on the back now and again.
Give a gift after someone does a great job on a project or recognize someone for length of service.
Employee of the Month
This can be a double-edged sword. Done well, and an employee of the month awards become coveted and cherished by employees. Done poorly and they are seen as recognition of the boss’ favourite and has nothing to do with merit.
If you choose to implement an Employee of the Month award, have clearly defined criteria for choosing the winner. Make sure every employee has the chance to vie for the award and knows what it takes to win.
To avoid the look of favoritism, try having a committee choose the award winners. Then the manager isn’t on the hook and everyone knows the process is fair.