Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Andre Janus, CEO, Cristaux International in Elk Grove Village/IL. His opinions are his own.
We all work harder when we’re happy and when we feel that we’re really valued. The connection between appreciation and effort is primal, and even the most humble folks in your workforce want to know that your organization cares about them.
That’s why you’re invested in your employee recognition program. Your organization plans special events, orders awards and chooses gifts for those team members who’ve gone above and beyond.
That’s all well and good, but you have to heed the small things too. Employee recognition programs aren’t just about driving the bottom line. They’re about building a workplace culture that attracts and develops the best talent possible.
Creating this kind of culture takes more than occasional recognition. It means prioritizing routine recognition. Here are nine simple ways that you can introduce employee appreciation into your daily routine.
1. Gamify Your Workplace
A lot of companies are leveraging contemporary culture by introducing gamification into their recognition programs. The basic idea is to create cumulative awards that employees earn for different achievements.
For example, you might pass out five gold coins every day. Employees can collect coins and cash them in for long lunches or gifts.
Your organization can also create achievement badges for employees to display on their social networking profiles or in their office space.
2. Leave a Little Memento
Appreciation gifts don’t always have to be big. Maybe you know that a star member of your sales staff is having a stellar week. Instead of printing out a formal certificate, pick up that person’s favourite candy bar, cupcake or another small item.
Leave the gift and a handwritten sticky note singing your praises while the employee is out to lunch.
This is a particularly good idea when you want to recognize employees who are shy or who might dislike public praise.
3. Put Leaders at the Helm of Daily Recognition
Ask your organization’s top leaders to send an email of appreciation or stop by your department to praise your employees or whole team. More than just doling out generic praise, ask key company players to spend their time getting to know top achievers.
Encourage them to develop mentorships with promising employees. Getting executives into daily recognition sets expectations for other company leaders and lets employees know that you take them seriously.
4. Celebrate Achievements with a Hashtag
If you’d like to post praise for an employee on a social or enterprise network, be sure to make it shareable with a hashtag.
If the post is staying on your enterprise network, make it quirky and specific to the employee.
If you’re going to be posting on a public network such as Facebook or Twitter, make the tag more generic to your company.
5. Make the Daily Rounds
Checking in with your employees at least once during the day is a great way to show that you care about what they do.
It’s also a prime time to give a brief thanks to those who work hard every day. It’s as simple as saying hi, asking how the employee is doing and offering a specific compliment. You can use this strategy to redirect struggling employees too.
Compliment the employee on one aspect of their performance, offer constructive feedback for improvement, then close with another compliment.
6. Introduce an Employee Recognition Totem
We’re not talking strictly about a totem pole or ritualistic object here.
Instead, we’re talking about designating an everyday or company-specific object as a sort of visual bragging rights. Let’s say you’re using a huge blue ribbon. Start the process by hanging the ribbon on a stellar employee’s chair, then ask that person to hang the ribbon on another employee’s chair at the end of the workday.
The recognition totem can then be passed from employee to employee at the end of every day.
7. Start a Random Notes of Praise Box
Set up a simple recognition box and put out some index cards, then let your employees go wild.
Ask team members to write a brief, anonymous note and drop it in the box when they see a peer doing something praiseworthy.
At the end of the day, get your department together and read the random notes of praise aloud.
8. Send Praise Mail
Personalized notes or emails show that you’re willing to invest time in employee recognition.
Unlike gifts or awards, employees will know that you were entirely responsible for writing up the praise.
Your notes don’t have to be fancy or worthy of publication, they just need to communicate that you care.
9. Do a Daily Recognition Wrap
Gather your department at the end of the day. Go around the room and ask everyone to give a shout out to someone who went above and beyond at work that day. Create themes to keep it unique.
For example, you might ask employees to recognize someone who’s great at working with clients or someone who’s an awesome team player.
If you’re struggling to get to daily recognition, simply add a reminder to your calendar. After all, employee recognition isn’t a luxury. It’s an essential business duty, and it deserves your regular attention. Don’t forget to draw on your employees for inspiration too. No doubt someone in your workforce has even more awesome ideas for employee recognition that you could put to work on a daily basis.