May 28

5 Surprisingly Simple Ways To Improve Employee Recognition And Engagement



Simple Ways To Improve Employee Recognition

Most people say that employee recognition is important for employee retention, but what are some simple and cost-effective ways to improve employee recognition?

The answer: employee appreciation.

There are many simple things you can do for your employees each day without breaking the bank.

In this article, I'm going to show you 5 surprisingly simple ways that you can improve employee recognition and engagement.

What is the difference between employee recognition and employee appreciation?

You can appreciate someone without telling them.

"That was nice of them to do that."

But when you recognize someone, they know that you are paying attention.

thumbs up

What are some simple things you can do to show your employees that they are appreciated?

Some people might think giving their team members a gift occasionally would suffice. But what really shows our gratitude to them is when we take time before work starts every day to say, "good morning" and thank everyone for being there with us at work all night long - because after all, it takes more than just one person on the team to get everything done!

You can also use their name when you interact with them. You can ask how things are going. You can catch them doing things well. You can offer them coaching and mentoring to grow personally and professionally. You can challenge them in ways that further develop their skills.

You can say "thank you"... a lot!

Ways to Improve Employee Recognition - and why

Why does employee engagement matter?

True employee engagement is not just about ensuring that your workforce enjoys their jobs. It also has very real benefits for the employees themselves as well and, ultimately, for the business itself. The following are seven areas where an engaged workforce comes in especially handy:

1. Employee retention: happy employees tend to stay longer which reduces future recruitment needs

2. Higher productivity: engaged workers have been found to be more productive

3. Cost savings from lowered absenteeism and turnover: Those who feel they can trust money invested in them are less likely to choose unemployment or another job opportunity Companies with engaged workers score 21% higher on profitability and 17% higher on productivity than those without.

4. Less time spent on low morale tasks such as onboarding new hires and managing disagreements between colleagues all of which costs time away from development priorities

5. Mental health benefits: An engaged workforce is happier and less stressed

6. Increased loyalty: An engaged workforce is more loyal to the company in your team.

7. Improved customer service: Happy employees tend to provide better customer experiences

7 factors that impact employee engagement.

Employee engagement is affected by a lot of things and engagement is unique to the individual. Therefore, your employee engagement initiatives need to keep this in mind because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to employee engagement.

1. Compensation and benefits

Employees need to be compensated sufficiently in order to remain engaged. Compensation should not be seen as the lone motivator for increased engagement; instead, it is a valuable component of a comprehensive approach that drives performance and retention.

2. Work-life balance

When people feel like they're spending way more time at work than they do with their personal lives, it can start to show that they're less engaged on the job. This is especially true for people who are single parents or those with disabilities.

3. Training and development opportunities

Engaged companies offer training programs for their staff so they're able to grow in their role, which provides them the opportunity to become even more valuable members of your team. It also gives them some autonomy over what they want to learn next - which research has shown is one of many factors related to increased employee engagement.

4. Internal Communications

It is important to keep employees informed about what they're doing for the company. If you want them to be fully engaged in their work, let them know how it contributes to the success of a project.

5. Autonomy

If employees feel they are in control of their work, and able to make decisions on how best to complete the task, this will greatly increase engagement. They will feel that they have a more vested interest in the company's success. With autonomy comes accountability and responsibility so be sure to clearly identify expectations.

6. Fairness and respect

If employees are treated fairly, this can lead to increased engagement. Fair treatment means being involved in decision-making processes; feeling included at work; not experiencing harassment or discrimination on account of their sex, age, race, or other status protected by law. It also includes having access to needed accommodations for disabilities - which is often overlooked but hugely important when it comes to employee engagement.

The good news about all these things? They are supposed to be part of your strategy already! If you start implementing them now, you'll be well ahead of the curve as you face the monumental changes we've outlined here today.

7. Recognition

Recognition matters -- a LOT.

Employee recognition is an effective way to boost engagement among your staff.

Sociologists have shown acknowledging their hard work motivates people and even increases productivity more than a paycheque or bonus would because it provides them with self-worth.

Create an employee recognition program. 

You can

  1. Ask employees and managers to write a note of appreciation and leave it on the employee's desk so they see it when they come to work the next day or better yet, you could mail the note of appreciation to their home.
  2. Ask employees to post recognition notes on Post-it Notes and stick them on a bulletin board
  3. Mail a letter to the employee's family, telling them why you appreciate their efforts
  4. Create a wall of fame for photos, customer testimonials, news, and other achievements
  5. Go all out and create a scene along one wall in a break room, along a corridor, or even in a public area, that aligns with your higher purpose and values. The scene might be an ocean, or a forest, or a meadow with a stately tree etc. It needs to be big enough to accept a variety of kudos that will build out the scene.


Then create a range of elements that will fill out the scene, for example, a variety of colourful paper fish that other employees can write on (fish = peer to peer recognition), paper turtles that managers can write on (turtles = manager recognition), shells for customer praise etc. Then fill in the scenes with monthly, quarterly and annual recognition e.g. maybe a dolphin for the person who contributed the most each month, a manatee for the people who achieve all their targets each quarter, a whale for the person who demonstrated company values while also contributing the most to process improvement and ESG results.

To round out your scene, add otters for those who bring humour and positivity to work, butterflies for those who improve the most each month, various birds for being "caught" doing desired behaviours, and so on.

Decide how you will reward the employees who have been recognized too. Perhaps after receiving an otter, the employee also receives a stuffed otter, the opportunity to host a lunch and learn, and a low-value gift card, a butterfly receives a butterfly for their workstation or locker and lunch with their boss; after receiving "x" birds and fish, the employee receives a gift card and is given an opportunity to work on special projects; after receiving "x" turtles they receive a certificate for an afternoon off with pay and the chance to lead a team meeting, and perhaps the dolphins receive a gift card, the manatees receive a certificate for 2 nights in a resort, along with a paid day off, and the whale receives the award they chose at the start of the program -- e.g. "when I am presented with the whale, I would like ____________"

Be as creative as possible, align the recognition with the values, higher purpose, and business objectives, and assign a value that represents the effort expended and the value to the company. Make your program easy to understand, easy to implement, and fun. Employees should be excited to receive recognition and even more excited to share the recognition with their friends and family.

As much as I love all of these manual ways to recognize employees, doing things manually is a pain. How do you track how many times an employee was recognized? What are they being recognized for? Did the employee do something that was AMAZING and therefore, in addition to being recognized by their peers and manager, the recognition needs to be added to their employee file AND senior management should be notified to recognize them too?

Then there are the rewards themselves -- a stuffed otter might be great -- until you have more otters than space, a gift card may not be appreciated if they don't shop at that store, the resort idea might not be good if the employee's family or friends can't join them and so on. Therefore, giving points and allowing the employees to choose their reward is better -- and easier since you don't need to stock a closet full of rewards.

Finally, manual recording of each recognition is time-consuming, especially when justifying the reward that accompanies the recognition or the program's benefits to the business, so my suggestion is to use a web-based program that enables people to easily give and receive recognition, choose an appropriate reward now or save their points for a bigger, better award, and for reporting purposes.

I would still have a wall of fame with a scene though.

As we move into this new era where creativity overflows from every corner of our world; celebrating great achievements has become more important than ever.

Lead Your Business Through a Successful Change Initiative with This Free eBook

Most change initiatives fail -- don't be a statistic -- and download this eBook to discover how to lead positive and profitable change.

Is your company's recognition program lacking?

Empower your employees with a web-based recognition system!

Employees are happier and more engaged when their achievements are recognized. This leads to higher performance, lower turnover rates, less absenteeism, and fewer legal issues.

It is also cost-effective because it saves time as well as reduces the number of staff needed to recognize all employees fairly.

Book a call to find out how we can help you to grow your business with engaged employees.


employee engagement, employee recognition

You may also like