We all like to feel appreciated. No matter what we do, getting positive feedback about our efforts or intentions gives our egos a boost and motivates us to keep going. In the field of psychology, it has been noted that providing a reinforcing stimulus following a behavior makes it more likely that the behavior will be repeated in the future. Additionally, if a favorable reward or response takes place after an action, that particular response or behavior will be strengthened.
The concept of positive feedback for a job well done is equally applicable in an office environment. Within any business, praise and words of appreciation can go a long way towards increased productivity as well as a healthier working environment.
A study conducted by Badgeville.com indicated that 83% of employees surveyed found recognition for contributions to be more fulfilling than rewards and gifts. Another 88% believed praise from managers in particular was either very or extremely motivating.
Besides offering words of approval, there are other ways of successfully recognizing employees so that it will prove beneficial for both the employee and the business owner.
First, a few basic tips:
- Employee recognition should be done in a timely manner.
- It can be an informal or formal acknowlegement of a person’s or team’s behavior.
- It should be the result of the employee’s or team’s efforts to support the organization’s goals and values.
- It should recognize progress, not just results.
- It should be personal and individual.
- It should be in the context of a larger goal or business-results-focused activity.
Employee recognition has changed over the last decade and what worked well in the office years ago might fall flat on its face in today’s business climate. Remember when the best you could do was announce the ‘best employee of the month’ contest? We’ve gone past this concept and workers seem to need more immediate recognition if they are going to be motivated and productive. So it is important for you as the business owner or office manager to be creative in the way you spread good feelings to an individual employee or a group working for you.
Here are some ideas for successful employee recognition:
- Recognition for a job well done can be as simple as a warm smile, a shoulder squeeze or a pat on the back.
- Recognize an employee’s successful completion of a project by sending a thank you note with a thoughtful message.
- Make a fuss over employee milestones such a birthdays or a 10-year work anniversary.
- Hold a costume party for Halloween or any other day. Hand out prizes for winners of different dress categories.
- How about a fun gift such as a paperweight with the words “you’re the greatest” carved into it?
- By patrolling your office looking for areas worth praising, you can catch employees engaged in doing good things and announce it out-loud so the other workers hear it.
- Use the employee-wide email to proclaim appreciation for specific employees.
- Surprise a successful individual or team with a late start to the work day or an early exit for home.
- Offer a day off to the team that met their goals most profitably. Each member can choose the day he or she wants to be out of the office and this can be the same day as any other member of the team or a different day.
- Declare a non-formal work day where everyone comes to the office in casual dress.
- Buy free tickets to a popular theatre performance, ballet or movie for a job well done.
- In addition to giving praise, you can also recognize your employees’ achievements by suggesting they give you their own feedback and by coaching peers that are having difficulties on a particular project. While boosting the performance level of other workers, this can also help top employees develop leadership skills.
- Offer ‘breakfast with the boss’ for each employee on separate occasions.
- Take all your office staff to and Escape Room, the latest form of entertainment and one of the best ways for employees to get to know each other better. Escape Room is an interactive and intuitive real-life escape game whereby 2 to 6 people are locked in a room and they have 60 minutes to solve challenging puzzles to escape the room. They must do this by finding clues based on various scenarios while competing with the other groups to come in first.
- Help an employee to develop his talents by paying the tuition to courses related to his job at the office. Offer heartfelt congratulations upon completion of the study program.
- Rewards employees by offering them a change of pace and a chance to expand their horizons with a business retreat that combines educational classes with also a healthy dose of rest and relaxation.
Lynda Arbon is a management thinker and change authority in a constant quest of supporting SME organizations. Her expertise lies in combining commercial and organization insights to support transformational change and sustainable business performance.
She typically works as part of the C-level team, leading, coaching, facilitating and...