Employee engagement continues to be one of the most buzzed about topics in the HR space. In response, employers of all sizes have reconsidered employee recognition programs. But traditional employee recognition programs may not be enough. In order to stand out to your employees and have a meaningful impact, employers need to get more creative with their employee recognition programs.
Here are some things to remember when crafting your employee recognition program:
One size doesn’t fit all.
What may make one employee feel appreciated may not work for another. To have an effective recognition program, managers will need to invest their time in understanding their direct reports, so they can understand what will make them feel valued.
Employee recognition standbys, like the “Employee of the Month” award, may fall flat for employees who feel that it is too by the book. The recognition should be personalized to the person. Some employees may be embarrassed by public displays of appreciation, while others may not feel like the acknowledgment means anything unless it is shared with the whole company. Change your approach to “thank yous” based on your best estimate of what will make that employee feel valued.
Keep it inclusive.
One way to foster a culture of appreciation is to host weekly, or monthly, full company meetings. Invite the entire company, including executives, to attend the standing meeting and discuss where the company is headed and the status quo. Employees will benefit from the transparency, and it offers a forum for employee recognition. Calling out the hard workers in a public setting can help make them feel valued, especially in front of the executives and their peers.
This meeting can also be used to celebrate when departments, or the company as a whole, achieves an accomplishment. Big projects take a lot of work to finish. When departments work hard on a large project, it can feel insulting to not have it celebrated or acknowledged. Taking the time to do so will encourage more hard work in the future.
For an employee recognition program to be a success, a company needs to maintain an environment that is open and accepting of diverse people and ideas. A clear open door policy can help create an environment that feels safe, so employees can really connect.
Recognizing employees goes beyond awards. Many employees just want the ability to vent in a supportive setting and know that they are being heard. Even if they can’t immediately be provided with a solution, knowing that they have someone on their side can go a long way.
One of the most valuable rewards that you can offer employees who are working hard is time off. It shows that you empathize with them for sacrificing time away from their family and friends while they are working. Allowing them to take off a few hours early or adding PTO can be a very valuable gift.