A manager stands behind an employee, recognizing him for a job well done while other employees are around.

10 Ways to Recognize Your Employees

In most organizations, it is the employees who are often referred to as the backbone that keeps the company going. They are the ones who are there day in and day out in the trenches working behind the scenes.

Because of this, organizations must recognize their employees as often as possible in a variety of ways. If you want to keep employees on for an extended period, then you have to ensure that they know you appreciate them.

Wondering how you can recognize your employees for doing a good job? Keep reading to find out.

What Does it Mean to Recognize Your Employees?

If you run a business, then you probably know that it is the employees that keep things running daily. This is because they are the ones that are there at various hours throughout the day.

In most cases, these employees are dedicated to ensuring that everything runs smoothly and is done as efficiently as possible. Because of this, they should be recognized and appreciated regularly.

Recognizing your employees means showing them that you appreciate not only the work they do but also that you are glad they are there. There are many ways that this can be done as long as it is done consistently and sincerely.

Keep in mind that consistent recognition of employees builds a community that is based on honesty and appreciation. When this is the case, the entire organization has more of a sense of community and a culture that is conducive to building relationships.

Why Should You Recognize Your Employees?

Most employers agree that employees should be appreciated for their hard work and contributions to the organization. However, others believe that they should not go out of their way to give recognition for everything.

Although it has become a bit more challenging to recognize and show appreciation to employees, especially if they work remotely, it is still something that should be done. The reason for this is one of many, with the most important being that people, in general, tend to work more productively if they know their employers are appreciative.

Many experts believe that showing appreciation is something that should be done at all times and can be done in many different ways. It is also believed that this appreciation should not only come from the employer but that employees should learn to appreciate themselves.

While this is a new concept, it can show employees that they are in charge of their happiness with their work. Allowing employees to reflect on their progress can be a better way to show appreciation for a job well done.

A manager in a suit points something out to an employee on a computer.
There are many great ways to recognize your employees for their hard work.

Best Ways You Can Recognize Your Employees

Recognizing employees for their great work is not a concept that is brand new but should be at the forefront of business owners’ and managers’ minds. This is because the idea when you hire people is that you can also retain them for years to come.

The only way to retain employees effectively is to ensure that they have all of their needs met throughout their workday. While many employees are happy to just have a paycheck, others thrive on being shown that they are appreciated often.

Want to know the best 10 ways you can recognize your employees? Read on to find out!

1. Start With the Small Daily Wins

In most organizations, there is work that is done by employees every day that is deserving of recognition. A business owner or manager needs to ensure that employees are recognized not just for the big things but also for the work they do daily.

These types of recognition can be as simple as noticing the work and thanking the employees for a job well done. A high-five, a pat on the back, or just a few words that tell employees that you are noticing what they have done can go a long way.

So, if you are not doing this, it is something that is simple and can be implemented quite easily to make great strides in creating a positive work environment. The key is to not make the compliments seem insincere but genuine and authentic.

2. Create Social Media Shout-Outs

Whether your company has embraced the social media craze or not, it is a great idea to begin using certain platforms to recognize employees. This is beneficial not only to the employees but also to show followers that you respect your employees.

When customers who follow you on social media see that you are taking the time to recognize certain employees for even the simplest of things, they will likely continue to use your products or services. In most cases, this shows that the managers and owners are not just interested in the bottom line, but also genuinely interested in their employees.

To do this, you will want to develop a plan with your social media partner to ensure that the shout-outs become a regular part of your strategy. Doing this will ensure that your shout-outs are done consistently and not just on a whim.

3. Provide a Once-a-Month Luncheon

While it may cost quite a bit, especially if your business is larger, providing a luncheon once a month for employees can be cost-effective. The reason for this is that it shows that you are investing in your employees and that you are appreciative of their hard work.

Keep in mind that this type of event does not always have to be fancy to let your employees know that they are thought of. You can go as far as providing a choice of food trucks that show up on a certain day of the month.

For this to be an effective way to recognize employees, you will need to ensure that you are doing it consistently and not asking for anything in return. You can even explain to your employees that you are doing this to show your appreciation for their work this past month.

4. Reward Employees with an Extended Lunch Break

For many employees, while having the occasional lunch provided or even being told they are appreciated is great, there are other times that they would like nothing more than an extra long break. This can give them the time to get things done that they normally would not with the set lunch period.

For many employers who implement this strategy, they will allow one day per week that the employee can take an extra long lunch break. This gives the employee some peace of mind to know that they have one day to run their errands or just relax.

Although this strategy may take some getting used to, it is a great idea to show recognition and appreciation to employees. Simple gestures that do not cost anything on both sides of the work environment are some of the best rewards.

5. Give Comp Time

Another recognition strategy for showing appreciation for employees is to give them additional comp time that can be used at their discretion. This does not cost the company anything and allows your employees to know they can take a day off and still be paid.

In most cases, a reward system such as this should be used sparingly and reserved for those circumstances that go above and beyond. For example, when an employee completes a project well ahead of schedule, you can reward them with a comp day.

Many managers and business owners will let their employees know from the beginning that if they come in under time on any given project, they will earn comp time. This often motivates them to do just that.

6. Develop Volunteer Days

For some companies, philanthropy has become extremely important, especially for those who are more mindful of the world around them. This is why allowing employees the time and opportunities to volunteer once a year is such a great way to recognize them.

To implement this strategy, many organizations will provide a list of charitable causes that employees can volunteer for or they may also allow workers to choose for themselves. Whichever way you choose to develop the plan, it can be extremely beneficial.

Keep in mind that it is only seen as a reward if you make it clear that they will still receive compensation for the day. This means that they will be paid as though they were at work although they are volunteering.

7. Host an Annual Employee Appreciation Day

Another great way to recognize shining employees is to host an annual employee appreciation day. This will allow you to recognize employees in front of their peers and upper management, and even owners.

During this time, you must show appreciation for all employees while also recognizing some for their hard work. This event can be held during the work day or you can host an evening event that everyone can come to.

The best way to know which will work best for your company is to ask employees what works best for them. Doing a survey such as this shows employees that you value their time and opinions.

8. Always Provide Positive Feedback

One factor you should keep in mind is that providing consistent feedback is one of the easiest and most effective ways to show your employees appreciation. Recognizing employees during their day shows that you have noticed what they are doing daily.

When you provide consistent and genuine feedback regularly, employees never doubt that you are appreciative of what they do. This, in turn, can create the kind of positive work environment you are looking for.

As you express your gratitude and positive feedback regularly, this will also encourage them to do the same to others. Gratitude and positivity are typically contagious and can trickle down throughout the organization.

9. Provide Employee of the Month Parking

Companies have incorporated an employee of the month program for many years and in many ways. This is a great way to build morale and allow employees to feel that what they are doing matters to them.

If you want to increase the possibility of keeping employees engaged, you can add to your program a specific parking space for your employee of the month. This will show them and other employees that they were recognized for their hard work.

10. Give Away Gift Cards

When some managers and business owners hear of other companies giving away gift cards to their employees, they tend to think that they cannot afford to do that. Keep in mind that using gift cards to recognize employees is not something that you want to do all the time.

This is something that can coincide with either your employee of the month program or even your employee appreciation day event. If you are giving gift cards away often, this is something that can get quite expensive over time and can become ineffective.

A group of coworkers come together around a wood table with an iPad.
When giving employees feedback, consistency is key. 

Worst Ways You Can Recognize Your Employees

Another thing to keep in mind as you begin to build ways to recognize your employees is that there are wrong ways that this can be done, which can lead to low morale. To be seen as having valid ways of appreciating workers, you need to ensure that you are steering clear of these ways.

Check out these wrong ways you can recognize your employees:

  • Giving positive feedback that is insincere
  • Inconsistent recognition and praise
  • Bypassing company milestones

While these are only a few examples of wrong ways to appreciate your employees, you should keep them in mind as you choose your strategies.

When Should You Recognize Your Employees?

Another thing you should keep in the forefront of your mind as you develop your employee recognition program is when to show appreciation. If you are appreciative of everything, then you have made everything important.

Here are a few little ideas of when you should go out of your way to recognize your employees:

  • An employee goes above and beyond their job description
  • Being a team builder/encourager
  • Mentoring new employees
  • Completing a project ahead of schedule
  • High-quality work

Ready to Make a Plan to Recognize Your Employees?

The bottom line when it comes to recognizing employees is that you are most likely doing so to ensure their retention with the company. This way, you won’t constantly need to hire new employees. The best way to do this is to ensure that there is a healthy work-life balance at all times in addition to giving employees recognition for a job well done. 

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