The Experts in People Solutions ™

Thursday, July 27, 2017        

10 Great Ways to Recognize Employees

Interesting Work

Although some of the tasks that you personally perform day in and day out may have long ago become routine for you, these very same tasks may be very exciting and very challenging for your employees. When your employees excel at their assignments, reward them by delegating some of your duties to them or by designing interesting projects for them to work on. It doesn't cost you a dime, and your employees are stimulated at the same time that they develop their work skills. Your employees win, and your organization wins, too. 


Everyone wants to be recognized and appreciated for doing a good job. One of the easiest and most effective ways to reward your employees for no cost is to recognize them publicly for their efforts. You can gain visibility for your employees' efforts by announcing their accomplishments in staff meetings, sending out e-mail messages that congratulate your employees for their fine work ¾with copies to all the other employees in the department or organization ¾submitting articles about your employees' efforts to the company newsletter, and many other similar approaches. Give it a try. What have you got to lose? This technique is free, easy, and very effective.

Time Off

Another great, no-cost way to reward your employees is to give them some time off. In today's busy business world, time off from work has become an increasingly valuable commodity. People want to spend more time with their friends and families and less time in the office. Of course, the effect of downsizing and reengineering has been to give everyone more work to do, not less. Whether you give an hour off or a day off, your employees will be pleased to be able to get away from the office for a short while to take care of personal business, go fishing, or just relax. They will return refreshed from the time off and grateful for the recognition that you gave for their efforts. 


Your employees crave information. However, some managers hoard information and guard it as though they were in charge of all the gold in Fort Knox. Instead of withholding information from your employees, share it with them. Fill them in on how the organization is doing and what kinds of things are in store for the future both for the organization as a whole and for your employees. By giving your employees information, you not only empower them with the tools that they need to make more informed and better decisions, but you also demonstrate that you value them as people. Isn't that what everyone wants? 

Feedback on Performance

Employees want more than ever to know how they are doing in their jobs. The only one who can really tell them how they are doing is you, their manager. Ask them to join you for lunch or to get a soda. Ask them how things are going and whether they have any questions or need help with their work. Provide them with feedback on their performance. Thank them for doing a good job. You don't have to wait until your employees' annual performance review to give them feedback. Indeed, the more feedback you give your employees, and the more often you give it, the better able they are to respond to your needs and to the needs of the organization. 


Involve employees especially in decisions that affect them. Doing so shows your employees that you respect their opinions, and it also ensures that you get the best input possible in the decision-making process. Employees who are closest to a work process or a customer are often in the best position to see the best solution when a problem arises. Your employees know what works and what doesn’t perhaps even better than you do. Unfortunately, many workers are never asked for their opinion, or if they are, their opinions are quickly discarded. As you involve other employees, you increase their commitment to the organization and at the same time help to ease the implementation of a new idea or organizational change. The cost? Zero. The payoff? Huge.


Employees highly value being given the latitude to perform their work the way they see fit. No one likes a supervisor or manager who always hovers over employees' shoulders, reminding them of the exact way something should be done and correcting them every time they make a slight deviation. When you tell employees what you want done, provide them with the necessary training, and then give them the room to decide how they get their work done, you increase the likelihood that they will perform to your expectations. Not only that, but independent employees bring additional ideas, energy, and initiative to their jobs, too. 


Birthdays, company anniversaries, the highest average number of units produced, the longest unbroken safety record, and many, many other milestone are terrific reasons to celebrate. Buy a few Twinkies and throw a party! (Okay, so this idea isn’t exactly no cost.) Your employees will appreciate the recognition, and you’ll appreciate the improved performance and loyalty that you get from your employees in return. 


All employees appreciate having flexibility in their jobs. Although some jobs, such as receptionists, retail clerks, and security guards, clearly require strict schedules and work locations, many other jobs such as computer programmers, technical writers, financial analysts, for example, aren't so tied to the clock or your established workplace. Giving your employees flexibility in determining their own work hours and their own workplace can be very motivating to them. In organizations where giving employees this much flexibility is not possible, you can still empower your employees with the authority to make day-to-day decisions about exactly how they perform their work or how they respond to customer service issues. 

Increased Responsibility

Most employee development happens on the job. This development comes from the new learning opportunities that you provide to your employees, as well as the chance to gain new skills and experience in an organization. Few employees are satisfied with going nowhere. Most hope to learn more, to be involved in higher-level decisions, and to progress in both responsibility and compensation. Giving your employees new opportunities to perform, learn, and grow is therefore very  motivating. It shows your employees that you trust and respect them and that you have their best interests at heart. You aren't going to motivate your employees by building a fire under  them. Instead, find ways to build a fire within  them to make work a place where your employees want and are able to do their best. 

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