Recognizing employees for their good work is essential to good business.
In fact, when researchers in one survey asked employees, “What can your manager do to make this a better place to work?” almost 90% of them said, “Recognize me for a job well done.”
So, what’s the best way to go about it? Here are some great ways to recognize your people:
Employee recognition that works
This is important enough to mention time and again. Employees can never be over-recognized for good and outstanding work and extra-mile efforts. Leaders who take time every day (yes, every day) create a highly motivated, productive environment.
Some ways to do it daily:
- Put it on the calendar. Note names of people who you want to commend for something
- Mark it with a penny. One leader puts five pennies in his right pocket each morning. As he hands out compliments or praise, he moves a penny into his left pocket until they’re all gone. Some days, he needs more pennies!
- Start it off right. A company president makes sure the first three things he says in the office each day are positive and/or complimentary. It sets the tone for the day.
Employees need to feel their work means something to their bosses and the company. They need to be recognized as a person first and as an employee second. So recognize them for the good things they do outside work, too.
Ask if you can announce and recognize their anniversaries, birthdays, special accomplishments and important events at work. Then talk about them at meetings or include a write-up about them in you in-house publication or in an email.
Create a plan
Help every employee develop a “vision” for personal success in the organization. Create a template they can use to document skills they’ve learned and ones they’d like to master. Use that to pick goals and to create a path they can follow to reach those goals.
Pay attention to them
Studies find the best leaders have several things in common, one being they carve out time to chat with their employees one-on-one. They use that time – and it can be just a few minutes every week – to give undivided attention to details on each employee’s work and personal lives.
This gives leaders a chance to see how employees manage all of their demands, offer help when possible and uncover new ways to boost morale based on what employees care about most.
Include their families
Talk to employees about their families (spouse’s job or philanthropic works, pet’s health, daughter’s talents, son’s basketball game, etc.). If possible, create a newsletter to share family-oriented information, that employees can submit information they want to share about their loved ones.
Also, when an employee is recognized for a significant achievement, send a letter home to the employee’s family explaining what happened, and how the organization valued the employee’s efforts
Regular, off-task events that are short and fun give employees something to anticipate and something fun to do. Psychologists say having something to look forward to reduces stress by creating a healthy anticipation of the future.
Some ideas: Plan occasional dress down days (you might even ask employees to pay for the privilege and give the money to a charity). Schedule weekly lunchtime group walks. Have a chili cook-off.
Laughter is great for the workplace. Leaders can incorporate appropriate fun stories into their speeches. One of the best ways for leaders to get their people laughing is to poke fun at themselves. Remember humorous mistakes you made in your young, working career and share them.
Say hello every day
A manager at an insurance company positions himself at the entrance of his department nearly every day so he can greet employees. With a smile on his face, he asks questions about their evenings or weekends. His interest in their lives sets the stage for a positive day.
Get meeting input
The more managers include employees in meeting planning, the more likely employees will want to be a contributing part of them. One supervisor asks employees to submit topics for regular meetings. In addition to covering what they want to discuss, he leaves time for “A-ha” moments. It’s a time when employees either share something they learned that may benefit others or something they witnessed a co-worker do that deserves recognition.
Change the focus
Leaders measure results. But if they spend a little more time focused on employees, and less on the numbers, results will follow. So regularly ask employees how they think processes can be improved. It’ll provide a two-fold benefit. Employees will be happy their input is valued (and used), and the company will have better processes
Share in the work
Managers who are too busy to help employees or who believe they’re above the work they’re asking employees to do, will demoralize staff. When employees face tough or busy times, managers want to step into the trenches, show they care about their people and find ways to make their lives easier.
Talk from the top-down
The biggest reason morale plummets at organizations and employees feel left out and unrecognized is a lack of communication. Employees want to know where the company is headed and what’s going on in other departments. That means manages should regularly report to staff the information they learn in management meetings.
In fact, companies that give employees a voice in management meetings report higher levels of morale than companies that don’t. That doesn’t mean you have to allow employees to make decisions are you C-level meetings. But consider offering them an avenue to make suggestions, air concerns and share new ideas up the chain of command. One CEO said she holds regular town hall meetings and spends at least an hour on the floor with employees at each of her companies’ facilities every month.
She also has what she calls her“Charlene Chatline,” a monthly publication to tell employees about worldwide operations, innovations and industry news. Plus she takes “Comments to Charlene” – email messages from employees with questions and concerns, which she personally answers.
Create social committees
Employees who have outlets to do what they personally enjoy around work will have higher morale. That’s why the management at a financial services company in Canada allowed and encouraged employees to create “social committees.” Sign up sheets were posted in the break rooms and groups formed to meet on their breaks or even after hours. Some of their most popular committees: health and wellness, breakfast, social and birthday.
- The wellness group sends email health tips each week and plans post-work soccer games, runs and bike rides.
- The breakfast club purchases coffee, pastries and bagels with donations for employees who don’t have time to get a meal at home.
- The social committee gets people involved in paintball events, family picnics and local theater.
- The birthday committee decorates cubicles and plans periodic group celebrations.