When most employers think of rewarding their employees, they often think of monetary compensation and benefits. And while raises, bonuses and benefits are important components of a successful rewards system, they leave out two crucial components: recognition and appreciation. The mistake in ignoring these two elements is that they are low cost and high return investments in your employees that pay off in a myriad of ways, including higher productivity, increased sales, boosted morale and greater employee retention.
Recognition means acknowledging an employee in front of their coworkers for specific accomplishments, actions taken or attitudes exemplified. Appreciation focuses on expressing gratitude directly for his or her actions. Fortunately there are plenty of ways that you can add recognition and appreciation to your reward system. From sending handwritten ‘thank you’ cards or personalized gifts, to publicly honoring employees with team lunches or awards ceremonies, you can help foster a thriving workplace where employees feel recognized for their hard work and effort. When rewarding your employees, follow these suggestions and tips for the most effective results:
- Be Quick – Recognition and appreciation need to closely linked to the behavior being rewarded for the act to be effective. Don’t wait until months have gone by to acknowledge the employee. Do so very soon after, otherwise the sentiment will get lost over time.
- Be Specific – You want to acknowledge specific behaviors and actions of an employee so that they know why they are being rewarded and will be more likely to continue that positive trend. Point out specific actions when showing your appreciation, and what the positive outcome or result of those actions was.
- Be Personal – Build a stronger relationship with your employees by praising in person and publicly whenever possible. If that can’t be arranged, consider a phone call, video chat, or handwritten letter.
- Be Sincere – Make sure your praise and thanks are sincere and thoughtful. Your employees will be able to quickly see through feigned or lukewarm acknowledgments.
- Be Positive – Stay focused on the positive action or behavior you are rewarding and avoid tying in a negative follow-up about something else they may have done. Save any negative feedback for another time, so as not to tinge or diminish the positive praise.