The benefits of employee recognition are far-reaching. When employees receive recognition for a job well done, they want to repeat the positive behaviors that led to that success, increasing productivity and performance.
This is because people are neurologically hard-wired to repeat positive behaviors when they receive praise. “Meaningful recognition activates the brain’s limbic system, causes a rush of dopamine, and compels us to repeat rewarding behaviors,” explains Beth Sunshine, Partner at Up Your Culture.
The Influence of Employee Recognition
A recent Gallop study stressed the importance of employee recognition and found top performers need to know their efforts are recognized and valued. The data revealed that only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days.
Which is great because 69% of employees agree they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated. But those employees who don't feel adequately recognized are three times more likely to leave in the following year.
Plain and simple — with plenty of data as backup — recognition programs help ensure that you notice successes and retain your top performers. Recognition has the power to increase retention, motivation, productivity, engagement, and loyalty. The lack thereof also has the power to push your employees out the door.
Create an Effective Employee Recognition Program
An employee recognition program is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The most effective feedback is individualized to how each person wants to be recognized. For example, some people like public recognition, while others appreciate private recognition. Start by asking each person questions like:
- How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?
- When you’re successful, whom do you want to hear about it?
This insight will help you to tailor your recognition to each individual. After researching numerous employee recognition program ideas, here’s a list our team put together to get you started.
15 Ways to Recognize Your Employees
1. Social Media Shout Outs
Show appreciation by posting a photo of your employees on social media and sharing details about their wins.
2. High-Five Friday
Give people the opportunity to give a virtual high five and recognize their peer’s accomplishments on a weekly basis.
3. Recognition Email
Send a recognition email to company leaders, highlighting the employee’s success and copy the employee.
4. Success Meeting
Hold a weekly success meeting and allow each employee to share a recent success.
5. Online Recognition Platform
Implement an employee recognition platform (some have free trials) to enhance and increase employee recognition and rewards.
6. Handwritten Notes
Send a meaningful handwritten note to the employee and list specific positive behaviors you have noticed.
7. Video Message
Record a video and send it to the individual with a thank you message.
8. Gift Cards
Send a gift card for the employee’s favorite restaurant to their family when the employee has a big win.
9. Surprise Delivery
Send a special gift with a note to the employee’s home address.
Provide bonus opportunities for going above and beyond.
11. Learning and Development Opportunities
Invest in employees by allowing them to attend a conference, seminar, or webinar that interests them and further enhance their learning and development.
12. Employee of the Month
Recognize an employee each month who demonstrates the company’s core values.
13. Allow Employees to Choose Their Gifts
Provide them with an e-gift code they can use on a gift website so they can choose the gift that is meaningful for them.
14. Maximize Their Strengths
Provide them with feedback on their top talents and discuss ways you will help them grow their strengths.
15. Ask How They Want to Celebrate
Ask employees how they want to celebrate as a team and provide opportunities for fun activities.
Noticing the good work of others and recognizing successes doesn't just make people feel good. It increases productivity and drives performance. Implementing recognition programs helps you ensure you’re showing appreciation on a regular basis.