The 8 Best Ways To Give Employee Recognition

Happy employees – motivated employees – energetic employees. For your business to be the best in the industry, its great employees that will make a difference. The first step is to hire the right people. Then you need to have a plan to keep them happy, motivated and energized. It is through recognition that you will get the best results.

Here are the eight best ways to give your employee recognition:

1. Make It Permanently Public – Recognition carries more weight when it is delivered in front of peers. Start by giving your employees accolades in front of their colleagues. Then go a step further. Name the conference room after your employee for the remainder of the quarter or year. Every time you have a meeting in the conference room, ask people to meet in the “employee’s name” conference room.

2. Written Notes – Email is so lame. Instead hand write a note on the stack of thank you cards you have stored at your desk (buy them in advance, so when the opportunity presents itself you are at the ready). Then go the extra mile by mailing the card to their house. A thank you at home is unexpected and the entire family can celebrate.

3. Make It Memorable – Of all the ways to recognize employees, cash seems to be the least effective. It is temporary and intangible. Instead give the gift of an experience, something they will remember for life. Give them a hot air balloon ride, cooking class, skydiving, sailing lessons, or anything they long to do.

4. Swap Roles – Being the boss has its privileges! A cool way to give recognition to an employee is to swap roles with them. Your sales guy gets your office for a week, and you get their desk. Your line worker gets your parking spot and you get hers. Your receptionist gets your car for a month, and you get a rental (while you also get his car cleaned, waxed and polished). The only thing you don’t want to swap is your job responsibilities, that could be a disaster.

5. Take The Tasks – A great employee should be recognized and supported in growing their greatness. A nice form of recognition is to provide them with support for personal tasks or responsibilities. Provide them with a personal concierge to take care of grocery shopping or dry cleaning or scheduling of personal appointments (like the dentist).

6. Wall of Fame – The Hall of Fame doesn’t need to be for athletes only.  You can have it for your business, too. Set up a “Wall of Fame” in your office. When an employee has multiple occurrences of exceptional performance, permanently add their picture and a biography of their achievements.

7. Name The Product/Service After Them – When you launch your next service offering or product, use the employees name as the internal name for the offering. Or, if it works, name the product or service after them. For example, a deli that has the “Mountain Mike Sandwich”, named after their employee Mike, is recognizing the employee in the coolest way possible.

8. Decorate The Office – Ask the employee to select the main piece of artwork to be displayed in the reception area of your office. Encourage them to use a drawing or painting by a family member of theirs, or perhaps create their own. Place a small sign below the art work, recognizing the performance of your great employee and how the art work was selected.

So there you have it, the eight ways to recognize employees. You may notice that one very common way wasn’t mention. . . money. While a wildly popular (and easy) form of recognition, money is likely the least effective form. So don’t give some money, give some thought into how you will recognize your employee. It will pay for itself ten fold.

Additional Reading: A great reference guide that I use for employee recognition is this book: 1501 Ways To Reward Employees

how to recognize employees


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