Remember when you were in elementary school and your pop quiz came back with a gold star on it? That felt awesome. It made you proud and encouraged to keep up the good work, right?

We all remember that feeling. While today it may take more than a gold star to motivate us, positive feedback still goes far in inspiring people to take part in wellness programs. That said, there are rules. Here are five ways to help navigate the do’s and don’ts of employee recognition.

Step #1: Observe

Authenticity is your friend and making a true show of recognition takes observation. Look for opportunities to recognize employees where it’s due. An employee who takes it upon themselves to quit smoking or lose weight is exactly what you’re looking for.

Learn why they decided to make a lifestyle change, and how they achieved their goal. In doing so, you’ll give them the fuzzy gold star feels and show them that you truly care for their health and well-being.

Step #2: Take the Proper Approach

What kind of person are you recognizing? Some people love the limelight and others shy away from it. Thinking about this will help you decide how to go about recognizing employees in a way that makes them feel special, but also comfortable.

Step #3: Recognize Employees More than Once

When it comes to considering the ways you can show recognition, leave no stone unturned and don’t be afraid to take a personal approach that goes beyond the gift card.

Nothing’s worse than a present that doesn’t make you feel special. Here’s a list to help you brainstorm authentic ways to recognize employees:

  • Feature an Employee of the Month
  • Create an employee appreciation program
  • Profile employees on your social feed
  • Give shout-outs in team meetings
  • Write personal notes or eCards
  • Let them leave work early

Step #4: Be Consistent

Giving regular, meaningful praise is just one way to demonstrate authenticity. In other words, you can’t just do this once and forget it.

It takes consistency in this area to truly make employees feel special. Be careful not to make recognition giving feel like you’re being automatic and that it’s simply their turn.

Step #5: Do it Now

Once you’ve decided who deserves recognition, don’t wait too long. The sooner you say “well done” the better. This is so that the employees can associate recognition with the exact behavior that brought it on.

Your company has an awesome wellness program with offerings for everyone. Employees are excited. They’re participating. They’re having fun and caring for their wellness.

But how do you drive them to keep it up? How do you keep your program from falling prey to the next bingeable Netflix show?

Follow the steps outlined above to give recognition in a way that will keep your wellness program foremost in your employees’ minds for years to come.

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