While that phrase might seem like an overused cliché, it is indeed built on truth. According to a recent survey, 37% of the surveyed employees picked employee recognition as the most important factor determining a great workplace.
Various studies have also suggested that when people don’t feel appreciated for their work, they won’t be as motivated to continue to produce, and they might lose loyalty in the long run. Pair this with the fact that the majority of employees don’t feel that their leaders or managers are adequate in providing recognition, so chances are, you’ll need to up your employee recognition game.
On the other hand, giving effective employee recognition awards can be easier said than done. If you are relying on traditional, overused tricks, it might be counterproductive as your employees might feel that your appreciation and recognition are inauthentic, which may end up in them losing morale instead.
With that being said, read on to discover creative recognition award tips that can strengthen employee engagement and improve your team’s morale.
- Learn their preferences and personalize
When giving employee recognition awards, it’s crucial to remember that it’s about them and not about you.
Different employees have different preferences when it comes to recognition. Some might not be comfortable in receiving public praises, but some others might not feel appreciated enough if you only praise them privately.
People also have different preferences regarding frequency: some might prefer to get frequent appreciation every now and then, but some others might prefer otherwise. Don’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach, but instead do your homework and personalize your approach.
How do you figure out their preferences? Well, the best way is to simply ask them. Invite individual employees on 1-on-1s, and ask what’s the best way for the company to show appreciation and recognition in their opinion, along with other relevant questions.
- Timing is key
The timing of the recognition award is always important.
In general, the sooner the better. If it’s a service anniversary, it should be on the day of the anniversary. If it’s for accomplishing a project milestone, it’s never too soon to give recognition ASAP.
Letting people know that you appreciate their hard work in real-time shows that you genuinely care, which is very important.
- Be straight and to the point
When giving employee recognition awards, it’s crucial to get your point across as clearly as possible rather than dilly-dallying around the topic. Pinpoint what you appreciate from them and communicate it clearly. Specificity will significantly amplify employee recognition awards.
Again, consider the said employee’s preferences and what you know about them. Be specific about what you appreciate, but elaborate it with their personal goals and values if you can.
One of the best ways to do this is to highlight the impact of their work. This can be in the forma form of business metrics, supported teammates, satisfied clients, and others. Emphasizing these impacts can be very effective in letting them know that their hard work was important.
- Give tangible rewards
Don’t be afraid of giving your employee recognition awards in a tangible (monetary form). Your employees do expect monetary awards, and they are always effective.
You can offer monetary awards on various different occasions, including:
- Straight-up bonuses. You may want to check out this guide on how to effectively implement a bonus structure.
- Gift cards. Guusto’s eEmployee recognition platform offers a versatile and reliable way to create a gift cards-based employee recognition program
- Free paid leave., Mmake itn mandatory if necessary
- Encourage peer-to-peer recognition
Peer-to-peer recognition can actually be more effective than leadership-only recognition when done right, so it’s crucial to also make sure your organization is facilitating and encouraging peer-to-peer recognition.
A good approach is to simply create a dedicated space for employees to recognize each other. This can be a physical whiteboard to write on, a dedicated Slack channel for peer-to-peer recognition, or simply make your regular meeting a recognition opportunity for everyone.
By facilitating peer-to-peer recognition, you are also establishing a culture of recognition and appreciation in your company.
- Recognition for remote workers
Due to today’s post-COVID reality, many of us are still working remotely, and yet these remote employees also deserve to be recognized and appreciated.
Here are some ideas to offer employee recognition awards for your remote workers:
- Make time for 1-on-1 sessions with your remote team members. You can give formal recognition awards in these sessions.
- If possible, make a habit of starting off virtual meetings (i.e. Zoom calls) by sharing informal recognition awards with each of your employees
- When presenting the team’s work in company-wide settings, name the remote workers and their contributions
- Celebrate loyalty awards
Remember that you shouldn’t only celebrate successful milestones, project success, and other merit-based award occasions, but it’s also important to award loyalty and tenure.
Publicly giving employee recognition awards based on year of service is crucial in lowering your turnover rate in the long run. The employees being appreciated will get an extra boost of morale both from managers and peers, so they can stay motivated in the next projects.
On the other hand, tenure awards can also help motivate newer employees to stay loyal and committed to the company, especially if the tenure-based recognition awards are tangible. They’ll get extra motivation to stay loyal to your company, which is always a good thing.
Above, we have shared some creative and effective employee recognition awards. You can try to make sure you are recognizing your employees with meaningful awards.
It’s also important to make sure your recognition award program aligns well with your organization’s values and core brand message, as well as the recognition culture you want to create in your company.
Also, you can be creative and have fun with award names to make your employee recognition awards unique and memorable with everyone.