Employee recognition improves staff engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. Recognition can be a spontaneous or planned gesture of special attention to acknowledge employee performance, efforts, actions, or behavior.
Awards are a great way to recognize employees’ efforts. They can show your employees that you have noticed them and appreciate them.
Importance of Employee Recognition
Your business will be a success only if it has an excellent vision and the support of great employees who commit themselves to realize it. While the vision is your responsibility, most of the effort in implementing it rests on your employees. So, you should focus on making employees feel that you notice and appreciate their efforts.
With too many job openings and not enough workers to fill them, this is a time of talent war. Employees can choose their employer. Even if they choose you, your competitors may entice your top talent.
Moreover, about one-third of employees do not feel connected with the company’s vision or mission because of several reasons. At least 30 percent of employees are actively looking for a job or watching the job market. Many people leave their jobs because they feel unappreciated.
Recognition at work increases engagement. Appreciated employees are happy, and happy employees are more productive. It also benefits you as employees will view you as trustworthy and show interest in fulfilling your vision. Recognition makes the workplace more positive and lowers turnover rates.
Innovative Approaches to Employee Recognition
Different things motivate different people. According to a Gallup workplace survey, employees prefer recognition in the following forms:
- An award or certificate in a public setting.
- A gesture of appreciation from a customer, boss or colleague.
- Positive reviews or evaluations.
- A promotion or increase in responsibilities as a sign of trust.
- Awards, such as pay increases, prizes or trips.
So, your employee recognition approach should be a blend of innovative tactics that catch your employees’ interest.
- Publicize employee achievements.
- Publicize and celebrate employee achievements and important anniversaries or milestones. This helps establish connections between you and your employees.
- Formalize employee skills by certifying training or supporting educational opportunities.
- Encourage initiatives to work on ideas that may be useful in reducing expenses or increasing productivity. These may not be part of their job responsibilities.
- Foster healthy, friendly competition between peers by providing incentives to best performers.
- Inculcate the sense of belonging using peer feedback and recognition.
- Offer an array of awards that are meaningful to employees.
Recognize your employees for their contributions, especially in ways they prefer. This makes them feel as though they belong. It is sure to have a positive impact on your business.
Employee Awards as a Mode of Recognition
An award is an item given to someone as a token of appreciation of something they have achieved. Awards are different from rewards or incentives. A reward is an item given to someone for achieving a predetermined goal. An incentive is a monetary or non-monetary payment associated with performance.
Employee recognition awards honor important employee accomplishments. They evoke positive feelings, and inspire future triumphs. The following best practices will help you devise a great awards program:
Plan Each Award with Care and Consistency
Spend time and energy in planning each award. An employee who gets an award for 25 years of service is someone who has shown continued loyalty to your organization. He or she should never feel that your recognition is an afterthought.
Consistency also matters. For example, all awards for the same achievement or trait should be of equal value.
Base Your Awards on Your Company Culture
Every company has distinct values and a unique culture. Make sure that your awards reflect your company culture. Consider also what you value the most in your employees. Create awards that employees can relate to. Customize them according to employees’ job profiles, interests, etc.
Choose Creative and Funny Gifts
Employee recognition awards need not be the same old formal employee of the month/year awards. For example, you can give an excellent customer service executive the Agony Aunt or Uncle Anguish award.
Along with giving employees the formal certificates that they expect, present them with interesting prizes. Your gifts can be anything from plaques, trophies, registration to cycling and cooking classes, tickets for trips, etc. It can even be something from their wish lists on shopping sites, such as Amazon.
Your gifts do not have to be expensive, but they should correlate to the achievement or trait you are applauding. For example, you can give a keychain with a large smiley face to an employee who is always positive. Similarly, you can lighten the work atmosphere, by recognizing someone’s efforts with a ‘You Rock’ award, where the trophy is an actual rock.
Celebrate Employees Publicly
Organize the awards function at a public setting. Invite the friends and families of employees. Praise the awardees publicly. Announce the awards on social media. By doing all this, you will reinforce the achievement of the employee. You will also motivate others to accomplish similar things.
Personalize the Awards Function
Regardless of the type of awards function you have organized, you should personalize it for all awardees. They should all be able to have a great time and retain good memories of it. You can achieve this in many ways, such as citing examples of each of their contributions or showing small video clips about them.
Ensure the Involvement of Your Whole Team
Get everyone involved in the awards program. Accept suggestions about type of awards, nominations, the awards ceremony, and the actual prize. Ask each person to speak of what they appreciate most about the awardees.
Be Wary of Dissension
Ensure that the awards you institute and give are never exclusive, divisive, political or biased. Employee recognition awards should not cause unhealthy competition or resentment. Instead, they should foster a culture of support, encouragement, and inclusion.
The awards you give could be large or small. The awards ceremony could be formal or informal. Regardless of all that, the appreciation you show should be meaningful, personalized, immediate, simple and public. This would improve how employees and others view your organization.
Employee Award Ideas
Employee recognition awards help you to encourage a strong culture in the workplace. You can choose award names and types of gifts according to your workplace, your line of business, or the industry your company belongs to. No matter what the nature of the award, the important thing is letting your employees know that you appreciate their efforts.
The following are nine award ideas related to various aspects of work that you can customize to suit your requirements:
Leadership: People who take initiative to get things done by helping, organizing, and leading others are rare. This is especially so when such a thing is not within the scope of their job description.
Note and acknowledge such actions. You will be able to identify employees with leadership qualities and encourage similar behavior among others. It will also be useful when you need to promote someone from the internal talent pool.
Achievement: Achievement awards are for employees who put in extra effort in all projects they handle. This award will also encourage others to do so, because they know that you notice and value excellent performances.
Innovation: Institute awards for employees who create innovative products or find solutions to longstanding issues. A culture of innovation is always advantageous to any company.
Teamwork: Some employees help team members with projects that they are not associated with or responsible for. You should give such selfless employees the credit they deserve by awarding them.
You can also award teams that always put in outstanding efforts to complete projects within deadlines and to the utmost customer satisfaction.
Mentorship: This award is for employees who take the time to train new hires or employees with less experience, even if it is not part of their job description. You should encourage this because it is an excellent way to hand over the valuable expertise and experience of senior employees. You can also consider them for managerial positions.
Impeccable character: Award employees who exhibit great character traits, such as integrity, kindness, generosity or grace, especially in difficult and sensitive situations. Let them know how much you respect them for their exemplary behavior.
Customer service: When you receive great customer feedback for an employee’s service, inform them and others in the company about it. Give awards to employees who frequently receive great reviews.
Long tenure: The employees who stood by you for a long time through thick and thin deserve recognition for their loyalty. An award for their service will not only make them happy, but it will inspire others to strive for the same. You can give employee recognition awards for milestones, such as 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and so on, coupled with bonuses or custom gifts.
Retirement: Remember to award senior employees who retire after having served your company for long. It makes them and those who witness it feel happy and satisfied.
National Employee Appreciation Day is observed every year on the first Friday in March to focus the attention of all employers on employee recognition. However, employee recognition is scarce even today.
Many companies do not prioritize it, either because they do not understand its significance or they fear of making mistakes and offending employees. However, customized employee recognition solutions, such as CoreCentive, have made it much easier, efficient and enjoyable.
Employee recognition symbolizes your acknowledgement of employees’ hard work and their ensuing achievements. It shows them that you support what they do. By recognizing their contributions, you can create a strong emotional connection between them and your organization. This will lead to overall growth and profitability.