21 ways to recognise and reward your employees

Gemma Scott
Marketing Executive
Actus
Blogger
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                                                   Forget flowers and chocolates!

Although many of us would recognise Valentine’s Day as being a clever money- making scheme for retailers, that doesn’t stop us picking up cards, flowers and chocolates to show our loved ones how much we value them. If we didn’t choose to recognise them, at least on these types of occasions, they may decide to pack their bags! In a sense, the same applies to employees in the workplace.

The power of the employee is growing and with this, levels of loyalty are diminishing. As such, it is in the interest of employers to make sure that they are providing a working environment where employees feel valued or face losing top talent to organisations that know how to tick the boxes better.

Visionary organisations have jumped onto the recognition band wagon and have used a variety of creative methods to reward and recognise their staff (not just by rewarding them with a bunch of flowers or chocolates!). Even late adapters are realising that some form of recognition is necessary and as such we have highlighted our top 21 ways to recognise your most valuable assets.

 1. ‘Employee of the month’ scheme 

Depending on the size of your organisation you may wish to make this weekly or monthly. It is important that this is viewed as being fair and objective as possible, so if you have a recognition tool like Actus you can track which of your staff are attracting the most positive feedback from others.

2. Certificate of achievement

This could be given to the Employee Of The Month and can be uploaded into a Performance Management System like Actus to keep an audit trail of achievements.

3. Bring your pet to work day

Depending on the culture and size of organisation, employees could be rewarded for their hard work by allowing them to bring their pet into work one day. Some may expand this to ‘bring your child to work’ although we’ve heard mixed views on whether this constitutes positive recognition or not!

4. Charity day

Some organisations allow their employees to spend one working day volunteering for their charity of choice. Such initiative demonstrates support for causes important to employees and also helps to contribute towards an organisations Corporate Social Responsibilities.

5. Gift vouchers

 For employees that love to shop, vouchers can be a simple way of rewarding an employee and allows them to choose a gift of their choice.

6. Team events

Not only are team events a great way of encouraging team co-operation and communication, they can also be immense fun too. Activities can include anything from paintballing to white water rafting, shopping trips to boat rides.

7. Themed lunch

Host a lunch break and make it especially fun with a theme. In the summer months this could take place outdoors i.e. a BBQ or picnic. Research has shown that employees will be more productive after taking a lunch break too!

8. Peer-to-Peer recognition

Using a Performance Management System like Actus, employees can go into the system and show recognition towards colleagues for demonstrating certain values. This type of recognition is easy to conduct and free to do! Plus it provides an audit trail of recognition provided – helpful to managers when it comes to appraisal time.

9. Conference trips

Whilst conferences can be heavily focused on work, choosing a lovely location to hold the conference, perhaps in a spa hotel, an exciting city or more exotic location, where employees have time to enjoy the facilities and their surrounding too can be seen as a real treat.

10. One to ones

Managers should be holding regular one to ones with their employees and these can be focused on recognising an employee for their recent achievements. Sometimes just holding a quick meeting to say a big ‘thank you’ can be more personal and impactful. Plus, some employees won’t enjoy public displays of recognition.

11. Dress down day

It may be simple but holding a dress down day can make employees feel more relaxed and possibly facilitate a more creative working environment, albeit for one day!

12. Employee birthdays and work anniversaries

Make employees feel special on their big day by hosting a team lunch, getting everyone to sign a card or singing happy birthday with a cake. These small gestures can make employees feel a valued member of the team.

13. Customer recognition

Putting measures in place that allow customers to review a staff members customer service, for example by filling out a customer recognition form, can be a real boost for employees that they are doing a job well done. These can also be uploaded into any good Performance Management Software to be reviewed at appraisal time.

14. Flexible working or extra time off 

Offering flexible working to an employee can be seen as a huge benefit and help them to achieve the right work life balance. They may value the opportunity to do this far more than receiving a voucher.

15. Special projects

By giving your employees an opportunity to work on special projects beyond their daily responsibilities will demonstrate your confidence in their abilities to do a good job. It is important to be sure however that their work load isn’t too great to take on the project otherwise this could back fire.

16. Career development

Managers should be having career discussions with their employees to ensure that their career aspirations are being recognised as important in the eyes of their employer.

17. Training opportunities

Employee recognition can be shown by offering employees the opportunity to participate on training courses which would help support them with their work and future development. By offering training, employees are likely to feel a valued member of the team and will want to perform well.

18. Performance rated pay

This can be a great way of recognising those employees that have performed well and offers a real incentive, however it can be highly subjective.

19. Awards ceremony 

Usually this would be carried out at the annual Christmas party or conference and is a way of recognising an employee in front of the whole company. This approach could be loved or loathed depending on whether the individual minds being publicly praised.

20. Office facilities

Some organisations may reward employees by treating them to office extras that create an enjoyable working environment such as a pool table, gym equipment or relaxation area. Google took this to the extreme when they introduced the office slide!

21. Social media

Tagging an individual in a tweet or post to recognise their achievements can be a quick and effective way of showing recognition and allows peers to also comment and show praise in response. This approach may be popular with Millennials!

One approach does not suit all

Above we have outlined 21 ways you can recognise and reward your employees for their hard work. Some of these approaches may be more appropriate than others depending on the organisations size and culture. It is also important to consider how the individual would wish to be recognised and rewarded and this comes down to how well you know each of your employees. What’s great is that recognition can be shown in many forms and some of the simplest methods of telling someone they have done a great job are the most effective.

About Gemma Scott

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