A good workplace knows the value of making sure its employees feel appreciated. Especially in today’s cultural and industrial changing climates, incentives for staying with a company must be stronger than ever.

Luckily, there are many ways to ensure employee recognition, which encourages teams to not only fulfill their purpose but to thrive doing it.

two people talking and smiling in a professional setup

Why is it so important to maintain appreciation and rewards for employees? The most basic answer is that it encourages people to work better.

Positive reinforcement is one of the most basic understandings in psychology. When an ideal outcome is signaled as a potential reward, people take action to receive their desired result.

Goals and Value Systems For The Win

Career recognition and rewards aren’t only beneficial to individuals, though. They also help the function of groups, teams, and organizations.

Maintaining a work culture of community and collaboration means there is less competition for the sake of competition and more focus on collaboration.

A team that can work together to achieve a common greater goal will build trust and social harmony. It’s the universal truth that in any relationship (whether personal or professional) trust is a major sign of mutual fulfillment. When people feel seen and recognized in their environment, they are more likely to stay.

Businesses with a shared value system among teammates allow workers to feel that their jobs are meaningful.

According to Harvard Business Review, most working individuals are willing to earn less income to have a more meaningful job. Purpose, fulfillment, and service create a sense of comradery and safety. And who couldn’t use some more of that?

Better Performance In the Workplace

Generally, higher work performance is often seen where employee recognition and rewards are in place. Surveys show that active recognition from managers relates to:

  • decrease of turnover rates
  • improvement of productivity
  • increase of annual sales.

Recognition and Rewards: Types and Definitions

Old and Gold 'Thank You'

One of the simplest and most obvious ways to show gratitude to your employees is to thank them. Be vocal about a job well done when you see one. Compliment individuals when you notice an exceptionally positive outlook they uphold or thoughtful solutions to difficult tasks.

Thanking team members doesn’t have to be cheesy. You can thank them privately or publicly; for accomplishments large or small. People can easily forget that their deeds matter unless someone tells them directly.

🌟 Saying thank you when it’s genuine praise can hold more impact than you think!

Annual and Quarterly Bonuses

A second popular and well-known type of employee recognition is the classic annual bonus. Also known as the “Holiday Bonus”, quarterly bonus or any other type of company bonus, these extra checks are given to employees at a specific time of year to show the company’s appreciation.

Some bonus amounts are higher or lower depending on individual commission, performance, seniority, or other qualifications. Additionally to monetary bonuses, there is a great way to encourage productive workers with extra day off (to keep all work time neatly tracked, applying an advanced PTO tracker comes as a solution).

🌟 Either way, it is a type of recognition that would certainly welcomed by your employees.

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Peer-to-Peer Bulletin Boards

presentation in front of bulletin board

Some companies find public, peer-to-peer bulletin boards to be a fun incentive for improving work ethic. This type of employee rewards system is doable for any organization. All you need is a decorative bulletin board, some post-it notes and a name slot for each employee of the department.

When someone at work notices their coworker going above and beyond a certain task, they may write it down and post it to the board. It can be signed by the writer’s name or simply left anonymous. At the end of the month, the employee with the highest number of positive notes might receive a prize, like a gift card or free lunch.

🌟Though this might sound childish, it can be surprisingly effective. The main thing for it to be successful is you have to get creative with how peer-to-peer compliments can work for your company. Some work cultures are more light-hearted and fun, others are more serious and goal-driven. Try to make the boar relevant to your people.

Team Appreciation Events

Another great method for recognizing employees is to offer team appreciation events. These events can include anything from free Taco Tuesday dinners, special live music events, or annual appreciation galas. With everything moving online now, digital Zoom gatherings are also an option.

🌟Whichever type of event your company throws, make sure to focus some time on giving shoutouts or awards during that event. The common scene of funny speeches and heartfelt “highlights of the year” during company parties is a cliche for a reason. People enjoy it!

Social Recognition

Pretty much everybody uses the internet. Therefore, social recognition now goes beyond peer-to-peer or branch to branch. Spotlighting an employee of the month on social media or the company website can be a great reward.

🌟Not only is online social recognition a form of good team ethic , but it can also be a great reputation boost. It can potentially add credibility to a team or individual for future opportunities. Having “Top Contributor of 2020” or “Voted Most Likely To Start Her Own Brand” on a company website can be a great publicity quote.

Education and Training Opportunities

A commonly overlooked but extremely sought-after employee reward is company-paid education or training.

Learning is a powerful tool. But it’s not always affordable or timely to attend educational offers when there’s a work schedule to stick to. Especially when the desired training is one of self-improvement, family planning, or another non-work-related subject.

🌟Some employers offer several paid education days for their staff members. These are like paid sick days or vacation time, but to further knowledge on topics that are important to the individual employee. Weekend workshops, special seminars, or even night school can be offered as a reward to high-achieving employees.

Make It Work for Your Workplace

a black woman in front of a laptop

There are many ways to set up employee recognition and reward programs. The main goal is to make these strategies unique to your workplace.

  • Make it relevant to your company culture by creating recognition policies.
  • Include your company goals into the rewards programs.  
  • Recognize employees consistently.
  • Treat all employees as worthy of recognition when they take action at bettering themselves, the business, and the community.