The Key to a Happy Office: How to Ace Employee Recognition

employee recognition

“One of the keys to leadership is recognizing that everyone has gifts and talents. A good leader will learn how to harness those gifts towards the same goal.” -Ben Carson

Do you have a team of talented people who could use some cheering up or motivation? Even if you’ve got an office full of Kevin Malones, employee recognition can go a long way in motivating people to do even better.

Here is a simple guide to why you need an employee recognition program, how to master it, and how to get your team pumped and happy to come to work every day.

Why You Need Employee Recognition

According to many psychologists, positive reinforcement is far more effective at producing good behavior than punishment. Employee recognition gives you a chance to encourage and reward employees for quality work.

In turn, employees are more apt to continue producing positive work and actions. This benefits not only the happiness and attitude of your workplace but your company’s bottom line. Win-win. 

How It Works

When business owners or employers hear the words, “employee recognition,” they often get nervous at the thought of expensive monthly rewards for employees that are being recognized.

Fortunately, monetary recognition is not always necessary. In most cases, employees and businesses benefit from recognition that is even as simple as a verbal, “Great job, John!”

Verbal affirmation of excellent work or efforts motivates employees and improves feelings of self-confidence among their peers.

If you really want to make employee recognition a lasting program for your office, however, you can offer monetary incentives, or you can have the basic “employee of the month” program. 

Other appropriate ways of recognizing an employee could be taking an individual or group to lunch, sending a group email recognizing specific actions or work of an individual, posting a thank you in a public area like the lunch room.

Any method your office chooses to draw attention to quality work or positive behaviors is a win for your workplace.

1. Develop a Culture of Progress

When a company puts in an effort to draw attention to or recognize it’s employees for a job well done, it changes the tone of an office.

Instead of employees who live in fear of reprimand or punishment, employees feel incentivized to earn the approval or praise of their colleagues.

When done well, employee recognition helps your office cultivate an overall feeling of progress. Listing goals that have been accomplished, tasks that were a success, or teamwork that was above and beyond, brings the idea of progress to the forefront of employee thoughts.

Especially if recognition is done on a regular basis and becomes a standard part of office culture, you’re bound to get others pushing for even more goals to be achieved.

2. Increase Employee Retention

It’s common knowledge that hiring a new employee is usually more expensive than retaining an existing one. Just think about it: It costs you to search for or recruit someone, train them, and acclimate them to your company’s culture.

All this before they are ready to really dive in and make an impact for you.

Thus, it’s better to use time and money wisely by retaining quality employees from the start.

Employee recognition is especially helpful with retention when programs do involve some sort of monetary benefit.

If an employee has been working at your office for a number of years, but another opportunity comes up, they are much less likely to jump ship if they know a yearly bonus is on the horizon.

Are bonuses not in your plan? You can offer things like gift cards, stock options, or raises for excellent work or loyalty. In the long run, these incentives are merely an investment in your own company.

3. Produce Happier Employees

There is a reason that companies like Zappos or Google are constantly ranked high by employees as desirable places to work. Companies like these put in great effort to make theirs an environment where employees want to spend time.

Happy employees mean more collaboration. Happy employees are generally more apt to work hard and be motivated.

Happy employees are more loyal to a company or team and thus try to work better to produce success.

Yes, employee recognition is a perfect way to garner an attitude of optimism, security, and even happiness in your workplace. The best offices use positive reinforcement and constructive feedback to do this.

4. Improve Employee Performance and Involvement

The Boston Consulting Group studied 200,000 employees from 189 different countries. What they found was that the number one factor that produces better quality work and employee involvement is… you guessed it: employee recognition.

Positive reinforcement, a.k.a. recognition for great work or behavior even beat out extra earnings and money for reasons employees reported being happier and more engaged at work.

To illustrate the value of this, let’s consider the reverse scenario. Employees who feel unappreciated are more likely to behave negatively in the workplace. 

They are more apt to miss work, take extra sick days, steal from a company, promote gossip or other negative behaviors to affect productivity and morale. 

Employees that feel undervalued are more likely to leave or create negative interactions with customers or clients.

In short, recognizing your employees and helping them feel appreciated is gold for your office. Literally.

How to Get Started

If you’re ready to see the improvements that come with increased employee recognition, but you’re still unsure exactly how to approach it best for your office, start small.

You can begin daily forms of recognition through verbal thanks, affirmation, or appropriate compliments. Then sit back and watch the positive results roll in.

More Engagement Strategies

A proper employee recognition plan is an essential tool in your arsenal for managing an excellent and forward-moving business.

For more ideas on how to get your employees engaged and thinking creatively, check out our complete guide to effective employee engagement strategies.

These strategies will do wonders for your company culture, reputation, and even that ever-important bottom line. 

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