In this era of employee care, employee recognition is more important than ever before.
While most companies know this fact, so many of them struggle with how to improve employee engagement through effective employee recognition.
It can be quite challenging for leadership to identify when, why, and how they should recognize their employees. Despite the challenging aspects, it’s crucial to get employee recognition right to create a positive company culture where your employees can thrive.
In a recent Gallup & Workhuman study, Amplifying Wellbeing at Work and Beyond Through the Power of Recognition, they found that a whopping 81% of leaders said recognition isn’t a major strategic priority for their organization.
In that same study, employees who strongly agreed that they were receiving the right amount of recognition for their work were 84% more likely to be thriving.
Based on this statistic alone, it’s clear that employee recognition needs to be a top priority for any successful company.
Continue reading to learn more about employee recognition benefits and a comprehensive list of reasons to recognize your employees!
Employee Recognition: Reasons Why It Matters
1) Increased motivation and productivity
When crafting your employee engagement action plan, it’s a no-brainer to include strong employee recognition because it bolsters intrinsic motivation amongst your employees, resulting in increased productivity levels.
When an employee is effectively recognized for their contributions, they’re incentivized to strive for success and do their best to have a positive impact on company performance.
Conversely, employees who don’t feel recognized or rewarded for their achievements are more likely to experience low levels of motivation and productivity because of this lack of encouragement.
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2) Improved job satisfaction and morale
We all know why employee engagement is important. Employee recognition is a key milestone of employee engagement and has a direct correlation with your employee’s job satisfaction and overall employee morale. Strong employee recognition helps keep both employee job satisfaction and morale levels high which has a positive impact on your employees’ overall wellness.
Employees that feel appreciated and receive frequent recognition are happier and tend to bring positive morale into the work environment.
3) Enhanced trust in leadership
Trust is something that is earned over time. Effective employee recognition programs help do just that by creating moments of connection through recognition between leadership and employees. A company that values and celebrates its employees is much more likely to gain the trust and respect of those employees.
Many companies spout the importance of employee recognition, but taking the tangible steps to actually create a culture of recognition goes a long way in establishing and maintaining high levels of trust with your employees.
4) Increased loyalty & employee retention
Another key benefit of employee recognition is increased loyalty and retention levels amongst your employees.
By recognizing your employees and ensuring they feel valued, employees are much more likely to remain loyal and spend a healthy portion of their careers dedicated to helping the company succeed.
When employees begin to feel undervalued or underappreciated, they may look elsewhere to find the recognition they’re missing resulting in higher levels of employee turnover.
5) Enhanced team collaboration
Recognition doesn’t always have to come from the top down.
Peer-to-peer recognition is a great way to enhance teamwork, motivation, and ultimately, team success. Whether an individual shout-out for a particular team member or a full team recognition moment during a company town hall, recognizing your employees’ successes encourages your employees to continue to work collaboratively together to reach their goals.
Reasons To Give Employee Recognition
1. On their anniversary
Just like you wouldn’t want to miss your anniversary with your significant other, you don’t want to overlook your employees’ anniversaries either. Starting with their very first day at the company, you want to make your new hires feel welcome as they embark on this exciting new career journey.
Each year is an opportunity to recognize and show appreciation to your employees for their years of service and their contributions to the company.
Tip: If you’re looking for a meaningful way to celebrate an employee’s anniversary, consider sending them an employee care package filled with some of their favorite items!
2. For demonstrating core values
Recognizing employees who embody your company values is a great way to not only show appreciation for them but to reinforce the importance of those core values.
For example, perhaps one of your core company values is community outreach and an employee who has organized multiple volunteer days for their team– this is an awesome opportunity to publicly recognize that employee for bringing an important company value to life.
Tip: Make sure your employees are aware of your company values and that you have employee buy-in. Employees who believe in your values are much more likely to enact those values in their daily work life.
3. As part of regular feedback
Recognition should be given regularly and not reserved for a once-a-year performance conversation. Consider making recognition part of your weekly one-on-ones or your monthly team syncs.
Embedding moments of recognition into everyday work life is a great way to ensure recognition becomes a part of your company culture, rather than an afterthought.
Tip: Encourage your management team to provide positive feedback to their direct reports regularly and often and arm them with the training and tools to do so.
4. For taking initiative
Another great opportunity to show employee appreciation is celebrating when they show initiative by contributing new ideas, increasing their workload, expanding their responsibilities, or taking on a stretch project.
New hires or recently promoted employees tend to be pretty eager and show initiative, so it’s important to cultivate and recognize their willingness to go above and beyond the core functions of their roles.
Tip: Recognizing employees who take initiative is also a great way to grow potential future leaders at your company! When hiring for leadership roles, consider looking inward at hand-raisers, rather than sourcing external candidates.
5. For mentoring others
Encourage employees to mentor others by recognizing and appreciating those who are embracing a mentorship role on their team. Mentorship is a fantastic method to strengthen and uplift a team resulting in more productive and happy employees.
A willingness to mentor is also a key characteristic of great leaders, so you definitely want to recognize and reward those employees who are making that extra effort.
Tip: If you don’t have one already, consider establishing a formal mentorship program at your company where employees are encouraged to sign up as either mentors or mentees. It not only encourages cross-collaboration, but helps existing top talent develop professionally within your company. Talk about a win-win!
6. To celebrate milestones
Whether your company has an established employee milestone program or not, celebrating important employee milestones is a can’t miss opportunity to recognize your staff. Some example employee milestones include work anniversaries, birthdays, and promotions.
These moments are really special to your employees, so take a moment to celebrate with them and show them just how special and valuable they are.
Tip: Don’t limit yourself to celebrating only work-related milestones. Celebrate significant life milestones such as a marriage or the birth of a child to meaningfully connect and recognize your employees as well.
7. For achieving a goal
Whether it’s a formal annual performance assessment goal, a short-term goal, or a company goal, take a moment to celebrate your employees for reaching the goals they set. You can also think broader here and recognize your employees for accomplishing a personal goal, such as running a marathon.
When employees are recognized for achieving their goals, they’re motivated to continue that success and tackle their next project with enthusiasm.
Tip: It’s far too easy to lock away our annual goals and forget about them. Instead, discuss and set mini-milestone goals with your employees to celebrate along the path of an overarching goal.
8. For going the extra mile
On every team, there’s a handful of individuals who willingly go the extra mile and take on projects or challenges above and beyond their core responsibilities. These employees should be recognized and rewarded for their exemplary efforts and eagerness to take on additional tasks.
It’s tough enough keeping up with essential day-to-day work, so you want to be sure that your employees go the extra mile to feel appreciated in the workplace.
Tip: To encourage employees to put in that extra effort you’re looking for, flag these stretch opportunities at weekly team meetings so folks are aware and can raise their hands.
9. To award a job well done or outstanding performance
Although this one may seem quite obvious, rewarding good work can be easily overlooked. Recognition should be given to employees to celebrate a completed project or outstanding employee performance.
Whether it’s a small-scale individual project or a large scale team win, it’s important to take a moment to recognize and reward great work and key accomplishments. You also want to be sure that this recognition is given promptly.
Rather than waiting for an annual review, recognize a job well done when that project concludes and even while the project is in progress.
Tip: Step up your recognition game and pair a “well done” with a reward such as a digital gift card or extra PTO day!
10. For consistency
Far too often, consistency is overlooked when it comes to employee recognition. We tend to recognize & reward top performers or goal completion, which we absolutely should.
However, consistent performers with strong outputs should also be recognized and celebrated. Without recognition, these employees can often feel underappreciated and as a result, that consistency you relied on may suffer.
Tip: Rather than only recognizing your top sales manager, consider carving out a recognition moment for the most consistent sales manager on your team! Consistency can be key when it comes to the company’s bottom line.
11. For putting in extra hours
We’ve all heard the phrase “burning the midnight oil” and chances are we’ve all had to do just that when up against a tight deadline or trying to get a project across the finish line. While this shouldn’t always be the case at work, sometimes deadlines are out of our control and employees may need to put in some extra hours to complete.
When this does happen, it’s best practice to recognize and reward your employees for rolling up their sleeves and getting things done.
Tip: Be sure to exercise some caution around this recognition type to avoid rewarding unhealthy work-life balance.
12. For taking on additional responsibility
Whether it’s filling in for a teammate while they’re on vacation or lending a hand to train a new hire, when your employees take on additional responsibilities above and beyond their job requirements, you should take the time to thank them.
It’s not easy to balance both core job duties and incremental responsibilities, so pausing to recognize the extra effort goes a long way in keeping employees motivated and feeling valued.
Tip: When asking your employees to take on additional responsibility, consider their current workload, bandwidth, and skill set to ensure you’re identifying the best fit for your needs.
13. For creative solutions
Another reason to recognize your employees is when they find creative solutions to business challenges. Thinking out of the box is such a crucial skill to develop and employees who display a knack for it should be recognized and encouraged to continue stretching that muscle.
Tip: Try implementing a recurring creative thinking reward in your monthly or quarterly team syncs!
14. After a tough project
Some projects are tougher than others and involve extensive time, effort, and attention to detail. Recognize your employees when they succeed in completing a tough project like this.
These projects can be quite draining, so taking a moment to show appreciation for a job well done can be just the boost your employees need to tackle whatever’s next on the horizon.
Tip: Don’t wait until your employee’s annual performance review– provide timely recognition immediately after project completion while the discussion is top of mind and relevant.
15. For their soft skills
Last, but certainly not least, in addition to performance-based recognition, you should also be recognizing your employees for their soft skills as well. Consider the character traits your employees display every day at work – kindness, ambition, curiosity, resourcefulness, positive attitude or a sense of humor.
Giving your employees shout-outs for these awesome qualities is a great way to connect on a personal level and celebrate the unique characteristics that make your employees so special.
Tip: Whether it’s during a one-on-one meeting, a team meeting, or a company newsletter, think about where you can naturally incorporate soft skill recognition in your workday!
When creating a successful employee recognition program, there are so many recognition strategies and paths to consider. One option is to go straight to the source and ask your employees when and how they like to be recognized by conducting an employee recognition preferences questionnaire.
Additionally, there are quite a few types of recognition and employee recognition best practices you can implement today.
Employee Recognition Reasons: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you recognize employees for a job well done?
- A: To recognize employees for a job well done, you can give them either public or private praise, a monetary or non-monetary reward, or simply thank them for their hard work.
Q: Why does employee recognition matter in 2023?
- A: Employee recognition in 2023 matters because it increases motivation & productivity levels, improves job satisfaction & morale, builds trust in leadership, increases loyalty & retention, and encourages team collaboration.
Q: Are there reasons why you should reward employees?
- A: Yes, there are many reasons you should reward employees. Those reasons include work anniversaries & other milestones, demonstrating core company values, going the extra mile, outstanding work performance, accomplishing a goal, and many many more!