What happens when your favorite team wins the game? You cheer, right? The stadium goes crazy, high fives are thrown to strangers around you, and the sound erupts to a decibel level that can’t be healthy for human ears. Such celebration for only a $30 ticket, enduring the spilled popcorn from the kid behind you, and having a random person score the winning point for a team you’ve never played for.
Now ask yourself, what happens when one of your coworkers or employees does something to help your organization? Do you cheer for them? Do you give them a high-five? How much did it cost you to be there (time, money, energy)? Doesn’t it make sense to recognize and celebrate those who are major contributors to our professional and personal lives just as, say, your favorite sports team?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do for others after all, it’s not like you have a stadium crowd in your pocket. However, employeee recognition is more important than you might suspect. In fact, employees who feel appreciated report 13% higher wellbeing scores than those who don’t, and those who are recognized frequently reported 17% scores than those who are not. Wondering where to start to show your appreciation to employees? Here’s our top ten tips:
1) Birthdays & Anniversaries – Meaningful cards with a small token of appreciation go a long way. The most important thing is to make it personal and customized for each person to recognize their strengths and incorporate their interests.
2) Employee of the month – Spice up this old tactic with fun rewards. Try out a custom made bobblehead, team t-shirts that say “I work with this rockstar”, or maybe a funny video from their boss talking about the great things they did last month.
3) “Props” board – Set up a fairly large cork board in a common area with a large sticky pad for people to give “props” to others for doing something awesome. This is a cheap, fun way for peer-to-peer recognition. If you want to really amp it up, have a drawing at the end of a specified time period for all the props up on the board for a prize.
4) Fun Accountability – Accountability can get a bad reputation so finding ways to hold people accountable for things they actually enjoy doing is a great way boost morale. Celebrate teams and individuals meeting goals related to teamwork, health, etc. Things like team outings, funny trophies and maybe a nerf gun or two as prizes.
5) Celebrate Life Milestones – Marriage, babies, new pets, graduating and buying your first home are just a few milestones that warrant celebration. If you want your employees to know you are paying attention to them and that they are an important part of your organization, simply sharing in important life events and accomplishments outside of the workplace send this message loud and clear. A onesie with the company logo on it, a cute photo frame for a newlywed or an extra PTO day for closing on a first home are just a few examples.
6) Support During Trials – Just as important as celebrating the fun times is being there in moments of need. Things like medical procedures or loss of a loved one are opportunities for you to show your care and concern. Send flowers to the funeral and talk to the employee to ask how you can support them. Getting them something meaningful or possibly even letting them have some alone time in the coming weeks can really make a difference.
7) Regular Communication –This is completely free, easy to do, and has a big impact. Words of affirmation, giving high fives, sending a text message or even an email to let an employee know they are rocking it leads to a big confidence boost and motivation to do even more. Research confirms that daily, off-the-cuff recognition is essential for employees’ perceptions of organizational support, so don’t rely on a once a year organized event – let people know when they are doing a great job. You could even set a daily reminder at the end of each day to send at least one email to someone who made your day better or did a great job.
8) Team Appreciation Day / Week – Extend nationally observed days such as “boss’ day” or “administrative assistant’s day” to include customized annual recognition days for departments and teams specific to your organization.
9) Parking spots – Reserve a special spot for an expectant mother in her last trimester, a veteran during Veteran’s Week, or a new employee for their first day on the job. This simple gesture can really drive home (no pun intended)the message of support, acknowledgment and appreciation for your employees.
10) Manager policies – Formalize your expectations for feedback for your managers. Creating a policy around providing constructive feedback to employees on a regular basis will ensure that employees are clear on how they are doing, and that they will receive positive input on a regular basis to help them continue to be confident in their work, even when constructive criticism is given.