6 Types of Employee Recognition Programs

People like to be recognized for their effort and achievement. As a parent, you know to give your kid a high-five for getting A’s on their report card. As a partner, you know your spouse needs to hear “Thank you” for emptying the dishwasher. Yet, as a business leader, you might be at a loss for how to show appreciation to your staff for all the work they do for your company.

Employee recognition is incredibly important for maintaining high morale, productivity and loyalty. If you are struggling to decide what kind of recognition program to institute at your organization, you might take inspiration from the following options:

Years of Service Award

In the U.S., the average amount of time a worker remains with one employer is about four years, though that number is dropping as job hopping and gig work prove to be more lucrative for advancing an individual’s career. However, higher turnover rates are bad for businesses, who must devote undue time and resources to filling vacant positions.

Thus, organizations should do all they can to celebrate workers who stick around. The Years of Service Award should incentivize loyalty, providing valuable rewards to those who continue to rack up years of dedication to the same organization. You can start celebrating a worker after just one year of service, but prizes should increase in value as the years continue.

Employee of the Month Award

It isn’t enough to recognize the accomplishments of your employees once per year, especially for workers who give their all to your company. Particularly hardworking employees should be rewarded more frequently with the opportunity to earn the Employee of the Month Award. One of the most classic recognition programs, the Employee of the Month can be identified by a leader in charge of performance management, voted on by the staff or strategically selected as a means of motivating the workforce. Ideally, the prizes for the Employee of the Month should be personalized to each winner, but they should always be roughly equivalent in value.

Customer Service Award

Your employees in customer support roles are perhaps the most valuable within their organization. Thus, you might consider creating a Customer Service Award, which celebrates your customer service teams who meet sales goals, demonstrate leadership, receive positive feedback and otherwise perform exceptionally. The Customer Service Award does not need to be particularly nuanced; a certificate accompanying some praise is usually enough recognition to keep these workers satisfied, though bonus pay and flex time can also be useful motivational tools.

Employee Appreciation Events

More and more often, people are looking for experiences instead of items. Bringing your workforce together to celebrate their achievements instead of awarding individual workers with gifts is a good way to keep up morale and engagement. Examples of employee appreciation events include:

  • Office outings. You might take a department out to lunch or to an exciting experience like bowling or karaoke.
  • Holiday parties. Every company celebrates the winter holidays, but you can schedule a party for any holiday, giving your workers the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves year-round.
  • Birthdays and anniversaries. Though these occasions are not necessarily work-related, they can give you the opportunity to say thanks for an individual worker’s accomplishments.
  • Surprise celebrations. You can interrupt the workday to celebrate an individual or a team with a simple, impromptu event, like a pizza lunch.

Employee Recognition Wall

An Employee Recognition Wall is a space in your business offices where you, other business leaders and your employees have the opportunity to share messages of thanks and congratulations. The wall should be in a prominent place where employees are likely to look every day, so when you or someone else hangs a new post, everyone will notice. Often, the Employee Recognition Wall drives hardworking employees to continue their high performance to keep their names on the wall, and it could encourage other workers to put in extra effort to receive public praise, as well.

Social Media Shoutouts

An Employee Recognition Wall for the Digital Age, social media shoutouts are posts on a business’s social media accounts that call attention to the special effort of one or more employees. Because business social media accounts are seen by workers and customers alike, an employee who is featured online is likely to receive even more recognition and praise, and they can show off their accomplishment to friends and family. However, before you post an employee’s name and information online, you should receive their approval.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to recognizing the effort and accomplishments of your employees. Recognition programs like those above will keep your workforce happy and productive.

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