Whether you’re in HR or management, or work for a small start-up or a large organization, following these five essentials will make your employee recognition pay off big dividends in satisfaction, engagement and productivity.
- Be timely. If you administer formal years-of-service awards, invite employees to choose their gift ahead of their actual anniversary. Congratulatory emails or other acknowledgement of anniversary dates should reach your employee on that date. When you’re talking recognition for a job well done, ride the momentum and say something right away!
- Be specific. Rewards are most meaningful and memorable when they’re tied to specific actions and goals. Did someone land a major account? Surpass an already-aggressive sales goal? Go above and beyond to meet a super-tight deadline or avert a crisis? Let employees know what specific actions and behaviors got them noticed…and be prepared for repeat performances.
- Be appropriate. Always match the level of reward to the magnitude of the achievement. When an employee stays late or comes in early to complete a project, a simple “thank you” is enough. Going overboard with your appreciation leads to unrealistic expectations down the line. By the same token, too casual an approach to a major accomplishment is demoralizing.
- Be authentic. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Much of this comes down to corporate culture. Authenticity, sincerity, the personal touch – call it what you will – flows much more naturally in those organizations that consistently nurture recognition and genuine appreciation.
- Be motivational. Simply following the four previous keys will get you a long way toward encouraging exemplary behavior and performance. One final key is to always treat each employee not only as a valued team member, but as an individual on that team – one with unique talents and contributions to make to the benefit of the organization.