Statistics show that employee engagement depends on a sense of appreciation and recognition. 69% of employees say they would feel more motivated if they were rewarded at work. A good, low-cost way to reward employees and keep them motivated is simply through recognition.
Recognition doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, but it is something a lot of employers and managers get wrong for one reason or another.
The following are some ways you can develop and manage an effective employee recognition program.
Know What to Recognize
A recognition program should be just that—a program. With that comes some structure, metrics,and some guidelines.
A recognition program’s structure should be based around exactly what it is you’re recognizing.
Examples include length of service as well as recognition for big one-time achievements, like meeting a certain sales goal. There can also be recognition for strong performance over a period of time.
When you’re deciding what will lead to employee recognition, define specific ways each will be recognized. For example, will it be with a hand-written note or perhaps a mention in the employee online portal or newsletter?
Formalizing your recognition program will help you track the benefits it brings to your organization,and it will ensure you keep up with it.
Additionally, as you’re deciding what you’ll recognize, keep in mind that you can look beyond the traditional metrics.
For example, what about the most innovative employees or the ones who are best at building morale?
Specific things to also keep in mind with your employee recognition program include:
- Be specific when you tell your employees what actions you are recognizing. This highlights not only to that employee but other employees as well how to improve their performance. Be accurate, because if you mistake an employees’ accomplishments, it’s going to diminish the value of your recognition program.
- You don’t always have to just recognize one employee. If it was a team effort, call that out in a positive way as well.
- Work to create a sense of balance so that recognition and also any accompanying awards are in-line and well-matched to the level of achievement.
When you do create a process for recognizing employees, you don’t want it to be something that feels like everyone gets a turn, or worse yet, where the same people are getting recognized over and over again.
It needs to be objective rather than subjective, and you also need to ensure that it’s fair for someone to receive recognition rather than everyone just waiting until it’s their chance.
To make recognition objective, try to find metrics that you can base it on. Just one example could be sales totals, but there are a lot of other metrics you can identify as part of a recognition program.
Time and Relationships
When you’re creating a recognition program, you may be at a loss for exactly how to recognize the good work of team members. Don’t underestimate how valuable your time and building a relationship with you or another company leader could be to someone.
Mentoring and coaching can serve double-duty and be a way to recognize an employees’ good work and also help develop them.
Along with this comes the idea of recognizing employees’ contributions by offering them further opportunities.
For example, your recognition program could include cross-training or new learning opportunities to advance their skills. These approaches to employee recognition are good for employees and your organization.
Always Write the Recognition
Regardless of the specific approach, you decide to take to recognize employees, always include written recognition as part of it.
This could mean a handwritten note or letter to the employee, for example.
In this written recognition, you want to write what the employee did that was worthy of recognition, and how it was impactful. You can include a copy of this in employees’ files as well.
The Features of Effective Recognition
Along with what’s highlighted above, employee recognition programs need to integrate some other elements.
Recognition needs to be timely, meaning that it occurs very close to the achievement the employee is recognizedfor. It needs to be frequent so that employees are regularly receiving feedback. You don’t have to wait until there’s a massive contribution to recognize key employees, and recognizing smaller achievements more frequently is better for engagement.
Finally, make it public and visible. This has been touched on a bit above, but the importance of visibility is not only that it’s good for the employee being recognized, but it helps other employees learn how to follow their lead.