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How to Give Your Employees the Recognition They Crave

by Olufisayo
How to Give Your Employees the Recognition

People naturally want recognition. It makes them feel valued and liked, and it can even help them feel a deeper sense of connection with those around them. Recognition makes life meaningful, and it can make work feel more meaningful, too.

That’s why 79 percent of people who leave jobs do so because they didn’t feel appreciated at the job they’re leaving behind. Employees need to be recognized at work, and to some extent they may value recognition even more than money. Here’s what you need to do to give them the recognition they crave.

Say Thanks and Mean It

Sometimes, just saying thanks is enough to make an employee feel appreciated, whether they’ve done a good job on one of their ordinary tasks, or gone out of their way and out of their comfort zone to help the company. Thank your employees whenever you have the opportunity.

Be Relevant, Specific, and Timely

Tie your recognition to a specific achievement. Maybe one of your employees has done an exemplary job satisfying a client, for example, or has been doing a great job at meeting deadlines – tell them what they’re being recognized for so they know what kind of behavior to continue. You can explain how their performance is helping the company meet its objectives – this will make the work feel more meaningful. Bestow your recognition as soon as possible after the positive behavior has occurred – waiting for an annual review or putting it off for some other reason just gives your employee the opportunity to grow disengaged and resentful.

Personalize Your Praise

Take the time to get to know your employees and figure out what gestures will make them feel most appreciated. Some people respond best to verbal recognition, while others would feel most appreciated if they received a tangible gift, whether that’s a short handwritten note or a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. The process of getting to know your employees and finding out what their language of appreciation is can help build feelings of connection and being valued too.

Go Beyond Cash

To be sure, plenty of people feel more motivated when there’s the possibility of earning more cash – and plenty of people will feel appreciated when they receive a raise or a cash bonus for working hard. You shouldn’t withhold financial rewards just to save money on employee recognition. But neither should you rely solely on cash bonuses and other financial incentives to make your employee recognition program a success.

That’s because recognition motivates people too, and it can be handed out a lot more freely than money, so it’s a much more useful tool to keep people engaged day-to-day. It would be easy to get burnt out and disengage from your job if the only incentives you had were yearly bonuses or yearly pay increases. It’s the little things that keep employees’ morale high for the rest of the year.

Non-cash incentives include words of praise and gratitude, but they can also include other perks and gestures. Perhaps you could give out extra paid time off to employees who meet certain performance goals. Maybe you can take the time to write personalized words of thanks when employees perform well.

You could certainly make time for employee anniversary recognition or recognition of employee life milestones, like having children, finishing school, or celebrating a birthday. Give employees a personalized card, and perhaps a small gift, like a restaurant gift card or a scratch-off lottery ticket. Have everyone sign a card when appropriate to celebrate personal and career milestones. These non-cash gestures are just as meaningful to most employees.

Make Recognition a Daily Event

Recognition isn’t something that should be saved up for annual performance reviews. If recognition is dispensed sparingly, employees will have a lot of time to start feeling like their efforts aren’t appreciated, and they could disengage from the job. Try to find opportunities to recognize employees’ achievements as often as possible, even if it’s something like having great attendance all year or being helpful to coworkers. Everyone’s doing something that’s benefiting your company, even if they’re not top performers in more traditional ways.

Your employees are craving recognition – and there’s no reason not to give it to them. Employees who feel their efforts are recognized and appreciated feel happier in their jobs, and work harder for the company. Give your employees more recognition, and watch them blossom as they begin to find their work more meaningful.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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