7 Powerful Ways To Reward & Recognize Your Stellar Team And Make Them Trill
Employee recognition is a critical aspect of an engaged workforce. It’s important to make time to praise employees for a job well done. Remember, people want to feel appreciated. But how to reward and recognize your stellar team and make them thrill?
It’s a time of war over talents out there.
Reward teams and you get to build motivation, boosts productivity and develops team trust. Offering people recognition boosts their self-esteem, confidence and happiness at work.
To acquire and retain the top performers, you must build a workplace culture where employee recognition is the everyday norm.
In a nutshell, rewards and recognition signify the appropriate acknowledgment, appreciation, and prompt incentivization of an employees’ effort. In the last two decades, they have been the driving force behind global companies’ success in delivering a near-perfect employee experience.
Although recognition is the buzzword in the HR management space, but it is also the most ignored and taken-for-granted aspect of employee engagement.
Being rewarded and recognized, employees tend to stay motivated and more focused to reap the benefits of their hard work. Everyone likes being appreciated, especially when it is for their work. It increases the overall productivity of the organization.
Here are easy but powerful ways to reward and recognize your employees who are doing a great job.
Organizations need to carefully tailor their recognition and reward efforts and make them meaningful to their team. Here are 7 impactful ways to reward recognize your stellar team, show them that you appreciate their efforts and make them thrill along the way!
Tip #1: Meet, Greet and Eat
Are you always in a formal business environment while interacting with your employees? Do you not get to see all your employees regularly? It’s definitely time to make some changes. Add room to your calendar for those outdoor team lunches.
A good meal brings out the best moods. Outdoor team lunches can be a great opportunity to enhance communication within the organization.
Team lunches, after-office dinner parties or outings can be organized by managers to recognize employees for their efforts. This will not only make them feel special but will also help them take their mind off from their daily schedule. This is not only a good opportunity for all managers to connect with their employees but also for employees to know each other better.
Who doesn’t like a free lunch?
Besides showing you care, you’ll be giving them some one-on-one time they don’t typically get — a great chance to talk shop or get to know each other a little better. You can also take lunch to your employees — catering for your team is a great way to show them you appreciate their efforts.
Indulge them with food. Make sure everyone knows it’s the company’s way of appreciating an employee’s or team’s accomplishment.
Bring in donuts, cater lunch, or pick up the tab at happy hour. If your team has worked overtime to complete a big project, consider holding an on-site fiesta to celebrate crossing the finish line. DIY taco bars, bottomless guacamole, tamales, and other Mexican catering favorites make a festive menu for a special employee appreciation event.
Going out is a game changer. You can take your team out to celebrate something, of course.
But what makes going out valuable is that you can also use it for work. For example, you can schedule your next meeting somewhere nice. Something like a teahouse or a coffee shop. On average, most people find meetings boring and counterproductive. Sure, using smart meetings is an improvement in itself. However, moving to a more exciting location is a great way to reward teams.
If your company’s idea of employee appreciation means a five-year pin or a ten-year watch — or worse, just a paycheck — chances are good that you’re missing out on a key way to motivate and retain your best workers.
There are a lot of different ways to show your employees that they’re valued, with food leading as one of the tried and true classics. Nothing like seeing the words “appreciation” and “lunch” in the email subject line to get psyched for the workday, am I right? Employee appreciation lunches are a great way to cultivate a culture of community and respect in the workplace.
Whether your team is made up of a dozen or a few thousand, finding a way to show them appreciation beyond their salary is crucial. And, for many, the best way to do this is with food.
Host an employee appreciation lunch for your employees. From fully catered meals to box lunches, there are endless ways to bring a catered meal to your company. Treating your employees with lunch is a great way to show that you appreciate them for their hard work. If catering a lunch for the entire office is too much, then try providing catered meals department by department, or team by team.
Last but not least, you can even appreciate your entire organization with an annual team retreat.
Whether you take a trip to the Caribbean, spend a weekend at a luxury hotel downtown, or skip the bill and go camping in the woods, a regular full-team retreat will make each and every employee feel like a valued member of your organization. Plus, it can double as a team building event. Win-win.
Tip #2: Feed The Bucket List
Employees are used to receiving the odd gift card or monetary reward from work. But what about an experience? Increasingly employers are turning to experiential rewards — be that in the form of gigs, events or travel — to incentivize positive workplace behaviors through their Employee Rewards and Recognition programs.
Most people are going to be a lot more grateful to the person that really put time and energy into your gift, rather than the person who simply gave you cash.
The same philosophy applies with experiences – you want to offer your employees a choice of reward so they can pick something they really want to do. For example, if their dream has always been to go and see the Australian rugby team and you can provide them with tickets, they will see this reward as a lot more special than simply receiving some cash into their bank account.
These experiential rewards can take multiple forms, including experiences such as vacations, classes, and happy hours.
First and foremost, their purpose is to illustrate to employees that their personal preferences, families, and hobbies matter to the company and its management team. They are just as much about tying the employer brand to positive memories and feelings as they are about recognizing a job well done. One key way to help employees feel engaged and connected to their current job is to empower them to choose how they’re rewarded instead of leaving that decision up to their manager.
It is claimed that 84% of Millennials would rather choose experience as a reward than a monetary one.
The value that this generation places on experience depicts how important their community and self-value means to them, by choosing to spend more money on things like music festivals, traveling, workshops and performances. Essentially, they are looking for experiences that can be enjoyed at the moment. Millennials swear by events shared with friends and loved ones that create pleasant memories they can relive looking back on them.
Cash incentives tend to be spent on day-to-day expenses, such as a utilities bill or shopping — and the reward is soon forgotten.
With experiential rewards, you can create something that money can’t buy, something far more special, relevant and long-lasting. Another key difference is having the build-up, the event itself and then all the bragging rights that follow. For example, when Harry Potter World opened, we hosted the very first dinner in the Great Hall for a client – which created excitement before and afterwards.
Experiential rewards are effective because they involve a level of personalization and aspiration that most transactional rewards lack.
Going that extra mile to reward your employees with something that has genuine thought behind it is more likely to have a lasting effect. Not only are experiences a unique way to reward your staff but they are also meaningful. Experience days are something that your employees may not have thought to do or something they have not been able to afford themselves — that’s what makes them an extraordinary employee reward.
Do you know what our employees would absolutely love? It is the gift of real choice.
When your employees have the option to choose a tangible reward for a job well done, it will give them the utmost satisfaction. So, next time you want to reward your employees, ask what they want. Offering personalized and experiential rewards are more impactful and more appreciated. We all want to live life to the fullest, after all and by our own terms.
Tip #3: Claim To Fame
One way to make your employee appreciation genuine is to tell anyone and everyone of your employee’s success — share an employee’s accomplishments with their teammates, senior leaders, and even the janitorial staff. Publicizing your appreciation will tug at employee heart strings in a whole new way.
Everyone enjoys public acknowledgement of success.
Spotlight certain employees on your company website, employee engagement platform, or corporate social media pages. Make it a practice to feature success stories of employees in your company’s newsletter. You can spotlight employees for various accomplishments or contributions. You don’t have to limit your employee spotlights to solely top performers either.
Your best employees are the rock stars of your company.
Providing them with the opportunity to lead by example will reinforce the idea that their accomplishments are, in fact, exemplary. Recognizing employees as leading specific categories, such as sales, customer service, or support, will make them feel validated. Try putting a leaderboard up in the break room to showcase your monthly winners. This will also inspire other employees to compete for the top spot.
Recognition is great coming from a manager or the executive level, but it’s also appreciated when it comes from peers.
Get everyone involved with the recognition process, and give your team, ample opportunity and encouragement to recognize one another. This could be something as simple as signing a card, or nominating someone to be employee of the week. When everyone gets involved, everyone is invested in the process!
Employee of the Month is an effective employee recognition process that helps in recognizing the best performing employees of a particular month.
This not only helps to recognize employee’s efforts on time but also keeps up their enthusiasm towards work. Most employees expect recognition as soon as their work is over. When employees are recognized half-yearly or annually, it simply reduces their consistency in performance. Programmes like employee of the month induces positive competition among peers.
Employee recognition isn’t something that is meant to be done inside closed doors. Go public while you recognize your employees.
When you recognize your employees in a public forum, they get to exhibit their hard-earned appreciation. Another way of going public with employee recognition is to take it to social media. Your employees naturally spend a huge amount of time on various social media platforms. They would love it if they could flaunt their recognition on these platforms.
Are your employees social media fans? Give them a shoutout through your company’s social media platforms. Make it social!
Talk about your employee achievements in the company’s blog or social media sites. Take a photo with them and talk about how much you appreciate their efforts and how they earned this recognition. Millennials usually spend more time on social media, and they can share such recognitions with their friends across the globe via such platforms.
Tip #4: Polish Your Company Swag
How about attractive personalized swags as rewards? In fact, the company can give an achievers hat or badge (with the name of the employee printed). The achievers can proudly wear them one full day at work.
Most people may work for money but they always crave for something that purely shows their efforts and hard work.
Giving out appreciative badges at the end of every challenge completed is a good way to forward instant gratification. Moreover, the badges rewarded to the employees would act as a proof for all their hardships. And also motivate all the others to give their best and earn it. Thus, leading towards a better work culture within the organization.
Believe it or not, employees love a good branded mug, hoodie, or notebook.
Not only are those gifts practical, but they’re also a great way to show off pride for where you work. Today, organizations go the extra mile to ensure that each reward being given out offers a personal touch — Be it a signed personal letter from a senior leader, a caricature made into a 3D cut-out, or even a customized visiting card-holder. The thought itself enhances an employees’ passion to work and drives them to show up every day with a smile and take on new challenges.
Personalized stuff is really cool to have around and make your employees feel loved and valued by your organization.
Who doesn’t love to have a mug on their work desk with their name on it? Or even a keychain for their vehicle that is as stylish as their engraved picture? They are great for decorating laptops, drinking coffee, or placing in the kitchen as fridge magnets. You could even go ahead and get them a personalized pen or diary. Moreover, it reminds them that they are a part of your organization as a valued member.
You could give hardworking employees a physical award, such as attractive customized trophies or plaques, as a tangible reminder of their accomplishments.
Trophies do not only showcase the fruit of their labor, but physical awards can also be something they can proudly display in both their homes or office to serve as motivation to keep doing well. These tokens of appreciation also prove something true — that is, you recognize their hard work and contribution to the organization. It’s a fun and thoughtful reward!
It’s always a great time to recognize and connect with your employees.
Branded swag that is practical and reflects the personality of your company is the smart choice. These employee gifts are all perfect for thanking employees for their work — still working in the office or working from home. Your employees are an essential part of your company culture; go ahead, serve them up some branded swag!
Keep in mind that you are thoughtful with your company swag and provide your employees the best material that is up for grabs.
Company Culture is something that you need to focus on if you want to have a good reputation among your competitors. And having a company swag will make your company look cooler among your potential candidates as well.
Tip #5: Cook Brownie Points
Gamification is an excellent way to reward everyone at once. Using gamification to add a new level of interest to routine tasks will boost your engagement and set a fun, competitive environment for your employees.
Gamification will spur interest and lead to a more effective performance by your employees.
The idea is to make employee recognition an instantaneous and continuous affair. The next step then will be keeping track of rewards and recognition earned by your employees. Create leaderboards, badges, certificates to acknowledge recognition earned by employees in different spheres of their work-life. Competition can be a great driving force as long as it is healthy.
A point system is a great way to show that you value your employees as unique individuals by letting them select rewards that matter to them.
Consolidating points into a single system allows employees to accumulate a significant balance, which builds excitement as the points accrue. When ready, employees can redeem their points for a reward that they actually want, rather than receiving another generic mug or an award that they don’t know what to do with. Employees will be able to connect their meaningful rewards to their personal contributions and value to the company.
You could imagine a live dashboard to track the performance of the employee that works in the form of a league/championship, whose results get declared every quarter!
This can even work wonders for teams and act as a great motivation for low performing employees. From incorporating quizzes to refreshing knowledge about internal operations to presenting live badges at every level crossed and landmark achieved; gamification is an engaging way to ensure that every employee receives constant recognition based on their merit.
Gamification in the workplace remains a hot topic among leaders in the business world.
Nonetheless, people may be motivated by getting a gift card, but what really drives them is recognition as well as status. Once you have an understanding of what drives your employees, you can then create the right incentives and rewards systems that are likely to excite them and motivate them to increase their job performance and productivity.
Employees like to deal with workplace challenges and win them over.
The only way to get the best out of your employees is to motivate and engage them at their work. Many of the daily tasks in the workplace can be gamified in one way or the other. It just requires a little brainstorming to see things from a gaming perspective.
Tip #5: Show Them The Money
Okay, so a spot bonus isn’t the most original employee appreciation idea. But it doesn’t disappoint. Your company pays employees what you think they’re worth, so slipping them a little extra green shows that you recognize and value their discretionary effort and achievement.
People wrongly think they need to choose one over the other, but the truth is your employees need both non-financial recognition and financial reward.
Actually, monetary incentives are instantly recognizable and simple for employees to comprehend. They hold universal appeal and are favored by employees who prefer to add them to their annual salary. They do not require personalization in the way that a non-monetary incentive requires forethought.
Raises can be an effective motivator for employees; however, employees must recognize that raises represent a reward for excellent work.
There must be a direct connection between superior performance and higher pay. Employees must also have sufficient autonomy over their work so that their efforts can make a significant impact on their performance. The size of the raise may also have an impact. Awarding hourly employees a few more cents per hour is unlikely to generate significant motivation for increased effort.
When an employee makes a significant contribution to the company that results in huge savings, the company can offer to pay a substantial amount for that employee as a mark of appreciation.
This can be in the form of paying a mortgage payment or offering interest-free loans, making an automobile payment or paying for a primary home appliance. However, make sure that the rewards commensurate with the significant savings/achievement that brought additional revenue to the company.
That said, whilst perks will make people less likely to look for a job elsewhere, employees should be recognized with appropriate financial rewards and promotion opportunities as soon.
Gifts cannot replace the market rate for great workers and building a reliance on being ‘a great place to work’ if the equity norm perception has changed will eventually lead employees to feel they give more than they get from the relationship. However, in the meantime, a few benefits can’t help but keep your workforce motivated, something that in turn can increase your success!
Tip #7: Raise Up Your Praise
The gift of gratitude is probably one of the most suggested actions that you’ll come across to show your gratitude to your employees. Everybody craves for some appreciation and the impact of a verbal or handwritten “Thank You” is unparalleled to any other form.
Knowing you did a good job is one thing, but hearing it from your boss or the president of the company is even better.
Leave a sticky note mentioning “Well Done” or “Thank You” at the employee’s desk. All of us crave recognition and appreciation, whether verbally or nonverbally. A thank you note is a simple way to thank and appreciate your deserving employees, and no matter how small a note, its benefits are unmatched to any other form of reward or recognition.
Praise won’t cost you a dime. Using meaningful praise is the simplest way to show that you care, and everyone will appreciate that.
That being said, you should try to steer away from generic emails or general praise cards, as these will cheapen the gesture and feel more like an obligation than proper recognition. Some managers believe in creating a recognition culture at their organizations. A handwritten thank you note or a private conversation detailing how much you appreciate an employee’s efforts will create a long lasting dialogue about performance while keeping your employees on the right track.
Most employees will be motivated to perform better if their managers praise and commend them more often.
When you praise an employee, be specific and personal. Tell your employees how their contribution benefits the organization instead of just saying “great job”. Acknowledge both the effort and the impact. Employees will feel more gratified when they realize the value of their work.
Positive reinforcement and praise can have a huge effect on employee retention.
Offering regular praise to your staff is one of the key things you need to do if you are trying to combat employee turnover, and we’re certain that you are. If you are giving out regular praise to your entire team, you are building a culture that thrives off positive reinforcement. Before you know it, your employees will be doing the same — spreading praise among themselves in a very natural and nurturing way. It’s your job to set the example.
Anyway, you must strike while the iron is hot.
The positive effects of receiving recognition will only last for around a week. This doesn’t mean that you need to be complimenting the same person every week, but why not carve out time on a regular basis to thank people who truly made a big difference to your organization. One practice that I’d like to see more organizations adopt is the Power Hour. It’s a great monthly tradition where you basically drop everything and encourage your entire office to send messages of praise and encouragement to deserving colleagues.
To what extent do you realize value from your reward and recognition efforts? All too often leaders invest considerable sums of money and time on reward programs that fail to deliver. Getting reward and recognition right matters for reasons beyond spending money wisely. What arguably matters more is the impact reward and recognition done well, can have on the culture and performance of your business.
Employee appreciation is not a one-time affair; it should be a part of the overall company culture.
Employees are your most valuable assets, and hence the company should let the staff know that they are valuable and appreciated. Leaders who make an extra effort to show their employees a fair amount of appreciation will see boosts in productivity, an overall increase in job satisfaction, and greater employee retention.
Whatever you do to honor your employees, make sure it comes from the heart.
Whether you’re recognizing the work of an individual or the whole team, appreciation only works when it’s sincere. Don’t just offer recognition for the sake of morale — offer it for a job well done, and offer it often. Giving praise is just what your office needs for a happier, more productive environment.
So why let your valuable employees go?
Follow some of the employee recognition and rewards strategies mentioned above, to have a workforce that works with better focus and positivity, which in turn, leads to higher employee engagement. The right forms of recognition and rewards at the right time can have unparalleled positive effects in terms of increased employee morale, and performance too.
With employee recognition, your business goes a really long way. People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.
Whether you want to launch a full program or find small ways to say “thank you” to your employees, we hope you were able to find inspiration in this post. What reward methods have been implemented at your workplace? Are you trying anything different that’s not mentioned on the list? Feel free to share your own experience in the comments below with our fellow leaders!
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.