Successful companies are boosted onward by driven and purposeful employees. When you have a staff of engaged and happy employees your business will naturally be functioning well ahead of competitors.

Unfortunately, motivating and engaging your workforce is often a difficult task and one that is regularly overlooked. Having a staff comprised of disengaged employees leads to a drastic decrease in employee retention and has a huge cost for employers. Employee turnover and mediocre performance are both costly consequences of improper management.

Keeping a healthy, happy, and productive workforce is directly related to a manager’s ability to motivate their team. In fact, multiple studies suggest that a happy workforce contributes to a 12% increase in employee productivity.

But how do you increase the happiness and motivation of your team? How can you positively impact employee engagement and retention?

One factor that leads to a motivated workforce is regular employee recognition. You can use recognition to motivate your top talent to perform even better, increase employee engagement, and drastically improve the environment of your workplace.

Why Regular Employee Recognition Matters

Employee recognition is a crucial element in retaining the top talent in your company and ultimately saving you money in the long term.

high percentage of the American workforce reports they feel unhappy and underappreciated in their careers. Due to this unhappiness, businesses experience a high degree of employee turnover.

The hiring process, of a new employee, is both costly and lengthy. It would be easier, and more cost effective to spend time recognizing and thus retaining the top performers of your company before they look elsewhere for employment.

By recognizing your employees’ contributions to a positive work environment you are increasing employee retention and productivity – and that’s a win-win for everyone

Types of Employee Recognition

Financial and Awards-Based Recognition

Obviously, everyone loves a financial reward. Bonuses, raises, and gifts go a long way to make an employee feel accomplished and appreciated. Offering special rewards for those that go above and beyond is especially motivating for your high performers.

They already know that they excel above their peers so your employees will appreciate understanding that their management knows it too. Financial recognition is helpful to promote performance and motivation to exceed performance goals. These include:

  • Employee bonuses
  • Employee raises
  • Earned rewards
  • Contests
  • Prizes
  • Annual gifts
  • Holiday gifts
  • Work anniversary gifts
  • Employee appreciation week gifts
  • Extra personal days
  • Catered employee lunches

Career and Professional Development Opportunities

While financial rewards are valuable, recognition may also come in the form of understanding there is value in furthering your employees’ education.

Understanding the professional goals of employees and helping them reach those goals is a step toward showing true appreciation for staff members.

This is a positive contribution for both employee and employer because it ultimately makes everyone better at what they do. These include:

  • Personalized learning and development choices
  • Mentorship programs
  • Tuition credit or reimbursement programs
  • Online courses and/or certifications
  • Incentives for completion of courses

Regular Feedback

Providing a time for employees to both give and receive feedback goes a long way in supporting a work environment where staff feels valued.

It’s important that these opportunities are regularly scheduled and predictable so that employees feel their voices are being heard. These include:

  • 1:1 goal-setting meetings
  • Group priority setting
  • Performance evaluations
  • Informal check-ins
  • Employee surveys
  • Anonymous comment cards
  • Team meetings
  • Company townhalls
  • Ongoing peer nominations or shout-outs via intranet

Dynamic Performance Reviews

Annual reviews are a thing of the past. Moving away from this model and providing more regular feedback regarding employee performance is directly related to employees feeling more in control of their career progress.

This helps to reduce overall stress in the workplace when employers and employees have a clear vision of what is expected of them and where their growth can be focused.

Ideas to improve performance review include:

  • Scheduling a regular 1:1 meeting with supervisees
  • Collaborative goal setting
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • SMART goals
  • Clear expectations
  • On-going communication and conversations about success steps

Public Praise

When you’re able to highlight an employee’s efforts, they not only feel appreciated, but you’re also defining how you define ‘good work’ for your team.

Everyone likes knowing they have done a job well. Making sure that your employee feels recognized, and their peers are aware of a success they might otherwise not be enlightened to, is a positive experience for all.

There are many ways to provide public praise, including:

  • Verbal praise
  • Handwritten notes
  • Email correspondence
  • Adding a regular employee of the month feature in internal communications
  • Celebration lunches
  • Company newsletter announcements

In turn, showing your appreciation for an employee’s hard work fosters a happier, more productive workplace culture. It also motivates employees to achieve their goals and go the extra mile.