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5 Best Ways to Improve Your Employee Recognition

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Recognizing the hard work of your employees is certainly on every HR to-do list – however, it often gets relegated to the very bottom of that list, as more important and more high-pressure tasks take over.

However, what most of us fail to realize is that employee recognition is just what the doctor ordered: it improves engagement, as 69% of employees claim they would work harder if they felt they were appreciated more; it lowers turnover rates, as companies who have an employee recognition program see a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate; and it boosts employee morale and involvement, as 90% of employees in companies with established rewards systems feel their work makes a difference.

It becomes clear why one of your 2020 company goals should be establishing (if you haven’t already), improving and implementing an employee recognition program, no excuses.

Here are 5 effective ways to do it:



What you could be doing

Most companies reach for bonuses and raises, extra time off, or a personalized gift to recognize their employees. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of them, you should only consider them to be the topper, not the actual cake.

Merely handing out a check or a nicely wrapped present is okay, but if you truly want your recognitions to resonate better and have a long-lasting impression, you will also implement some (or all) of the following:


Facilitate peer-to-peer recognition

While it is certainly true that recognition coming from a manager goes a long way, sometimes you will be much more motivated and uplifted by what your nearest colleagues have to say.

After all, managers only see a portion of what their team does every day, while members of the same team have a much better overview, and will often know their colleagues better as well. This means they have a unique insight into how much they have improved, how hard they are working, and how much their ideas and dedication impact the bottom line.

Don’t let these valuable insights and recognition potentials slip by undetected: establish a peer-to-peer recognitions system, where, first of all, employees are encouraged to tell someone they are doing a great job. Don’t leave it at that though, and make sure they can come to their managers praising someone, establish a monthly or quarterly review where employees are asked to list the best qualities of one another, and then share this information (anonymously).


Make your employees a part of your brand

Some companies choose to hide their employees from the spotlight altogether and only shine it on managers or top-level executives.

Why not do the exact opposite, and let your employees become a part of your brand’s identity online? You can choose to create a brand voice that showcases the best of your staff, thus effectively killing two birds with one stone: not only are you boosting their self-worth and company morale overall, you will also become more relatable and more appealing to potential clients.

Including employees in your online presence can be done on the company blog, via social media, via a podcast. Basically, anything that comes to mind can be executed. Make sure you keep it realistic though, and don’t focus on making things sound better than they actually are.


Going beyond the call of duty and how to reward it

There are employees in every company who will routinely do more than is asked of them, stay on a bit longer, help a colleague out, work that little bit extra on a project even though they might not need to, and so on.

These are the people you need to cherish and reward, as they are often not only some of your best people, but they will also often leave if they are not acknowledged for what they do. They are not doing it for the praise, but if you pay them no attention, they will start to feel you don’t care, and that is not an environment they want to work in.

First of all, establish a baseline for each position, and notice all of the outliers. These are the ones you need to both keep an eye on, as they can do great things in the future, and reward for their dedication and all their extra miles.

Make sure you always tell them exactly what the reward is for: show them you are paying attention and realize how hard they are bringing it each day.


Teams vs. individuals

Recognition should not be reserved for individuals alone: teams who do well should also be rewarded for their effort and results.

First of all, if they work together and depend on each other for a job well done, they should be rewarded together. True, it may not be easy to determine who has done how much work and how much who has contributed to a certain result, but that should not be your focus when rewarding a team.

This is all about recognizing the good work that has been achieved, and not about nitpicking – that can come later. If you need to determine individual results as well. Bear in mind that teams will often point out the weakest link on their own: especially once the praise comes in, and they start to realize their good work is being spotted by the higher-ups.


Behaviors vs. results

Finally, and perhaps even most importantly, you need to decide whether you want to recognize certain behaviors, or do you want to focus on results alone.

Ideally, recognition should be awarded based on behaviors and not merely results, especially if the results are out of the hands of your employees.

Let’s say a member of your sales team has not closed the most sales but has been the most helpful, most pleasant, and customers loved to work with them.

In this case, you would want to reward their dedication and the way they work, as opposed to having achieved the best results.

On the other hand, you should, of course, be rewarding results as well, but not at the expense of behaviors: after all, walking over others or being dishonest to become the best should not be the kind of environment you foster.


Final thoughts

The best thing about employee recognition is that you can tailor it to your own company culture, and make it as unique and personalized as you want to. Make sure you think about the rewards you hand out, and the way you encourage your employees to strive for betterment – and most importantly, make sure you are consistent and follow through with what you have established at all times. Only then can you hope for your recognition systems to yield the best results.. Above are some tips and techniques you can use to learn how to solve conflicts in the workplace.


Josip Mlinarić

Josip Mlinaric is an e-mail marketing and outreach specialist at Point Visible, a marketing agency providing custom outreach and link building service. He likes to say he has a simple and calm mindset in his approach towards life in general and likes to relax with experimenting in the kitchen or just chilling listening to music.



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