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5 Ways to Recognize Employees

employee recognition.png November 03, 2016 / Stacy Jackson

When it comes to retaining great team members, employee recognition programs can play a crucial role.


According to Josh Bersin, founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte, companies with a "recognition-rich culture" have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate. A recognition-rich culture makes people feel valued, which leads to deeper commitment, better teamwork, happier employees and more satisfied customers.

Recognition can take monetary and non-monetary forms. Here are five ideas to consider for your employee recognition program.


1) Peer recognition programs that include traveling trophies, fun emojis, wall of fame

Peer recognition programs make it easy for staff members to recognize fellow employees in a public way. Not only does this promote teamwork, but it also bubbles up stories from the frontline that management may not have been aware of otherwise.

A basic framework for this type of program is to create a way for employees to acknowledge publicly another employee for work well done.

  • You can have a traveling trophy that gets passed on by an employee whenever the current recipient sees another person doing something great. OfficeVibe uses a red cape.
  • You can create a page on your corporate intranet or a "wall of fame" in the company break room or conference room where people post weekly "shout outs." Use cute certificates or fun-shaped sticky notes for the wall of fame. Provide fun animated gifs or emoji for the intranet page.
  • Upper management can take it a step further during an organization-wide meeting or through the company newsletter by publicly thanking or mentioning those individuals identified by their peers.
Related: 3 Power Tips: How to Build Strong Inter-Departmental Collaboration

2) Social media recognition

In the digital era, taking employee recognition to social media can be a powerful way to recognize employees. You can highlight an employee of the week on your LinkedIn or Facebook company page. Create a tweet to highlight how a team member went above and beyond for a customer. Have an executive write a LinkedIn recommendation for a job well done. Here again, you can use special animated gifs or emoji to give it some visual flair.

Not only do these types of rewards make team members feel great, but they also help them establish their personal brands. These shout outs can also strengthen the confidence of customers who follow you on social media. They will see what a dedicated and talented team you have.


3) Team outings

If a department or team has pushed themselves above and beyond to complete a project or serve a customer, a team outing may be the perfect way to recognize the contributions of the group. A group outing (bowling, mini golf, laser tag, etc.) or even a pizza party demonstrates that the company realizes the extra effort the team put in to accomplish a goal for the organization.


4) Opportunities for employees to present ideas

Another way to make employees feel valued and appreciated is to give them an opportunity to develop ideas and present them to upper management. You will need to develop guidelines and a vetting process, of course, but it can be well worth the effort. Not only does this type of program make employees feel valued as individual contributors, you could uncover ideas that save money, generate more sales, or improve customer satisfaction.


5) Gift cards

Gift cards also motivate employees and make them feel appreciated. You can tie these to specific metrics (most customer tickets resolved in a month, etc.) or use them to reward above-and-beyond performance (an employee driving across town to hand-deliver a report).

Regardless of what type of employee recognition program you choose, make sure the recognition efforts are public, frequent, and tied to company goals and values. 

Stacy Jackson is a digital marketing specialist with a passion for helping clients optimize their online presence to drive awareness & leads. She is a founder of Jackson Marketing Services, an editor and writer. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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