6 Ways to Recognize Employees and Team Members at Work
Whether you’re a seasoned company leader or a budding entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard a lot of different views on how to keep employees engaged and happy in their jobs long-term. High salaries, of course, are a big motivator, but they’re not feasible for every company. Many businesses, particularly startups, try to cash in on perks like nap rooms and bottomless snacks to make their offices extra-comfy to hang out it, but are money and perks the only ways to employee loyalty?
By and large, no. While many people will jump from one job to the next chasing a paycheck (and you can’t control that), the people who are willing to stay on your team can be motivated to even great success through recognition. Recognition can take many different forms, but at its core it’s an effort to show employees that they are not only appreciated but valuable and worthy of praise. Here are a few ways that you can practice recognition with your employees and teammates.
At the company I work for, we dedicate half a staff meeting once a month to congratulating each other on jobs well done. We cite specific examples of work that our teammates have done to support each other, launch new initiatives, or handle challenges with clients. Often, once one person is praised, several others will speak up to second the achievements of that person. By the end of the meeting, people leave with assurance that the work they did hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Set aside time with your team every month or schedule a happy hour with your coworkers to tell each other how thankful you are for one another. Cite specifics and pass out notes of encouragement if you can’t get together.
Nobody likes a person who talks only about himself or herself, but if someone on your team has launched a successful new initiative or closed a large client, he or she should feel empowered to share that success with others. Whether in a staff meeting or through a company email, encourage your team members to share successes and positive feedback they receive from clients. Advise your team to keep track of achievements so that you can review them together when it comes time to talk raises or promotions.
Promote Awards and Achievements Outside of Work
Do you have a team of super-talented designers? Are your social media gurus top-notch? Share them with the world. Encourage your team to enter their work in high-profile competitions for their field or actively seek out speaking engagements for your people to represent your company. Be willing to add awards and other achievements to everyone’s website biographies. You’ll find that your team members walk with their heads a little higher, and your clients will have extra assurance that they’re in capable hands.
Make a Toast
Every time your company hosts a gathering to celebrate the efforts of your team, be sure to stand up and say a few words to thank everyone. It could be a company Christmas party, a potluck, or a work-free afternoon in the office with cake and champagne. Whatever your style of celebration, offer up a specific and meaningful toast to the achievements of the people you work with every day.
Call Attention to Milestones
It may seem obvious, but one powerful way to let your employees know that they have your attention is to acknowledge their time with your company. If you’re a leader, keep a calendar of everyone’s work anniversaries. On each anniversary, send an email detailing the number of years the person has worked for your company and the contributions that he or she makes every day. If you’re not a leader or aren’t into mass emails, send a personal message congratulating the person on a job well done every year.
Employees appreciate being known, first and foremost, for their work, but also for who they are and what they bring to the table as human beings. Encourage employees to express themselves by decorating their work spaces, or designate communal space to showcase photos of people’s families and pets or for them to write inspiring quotes and words of encouragement. Depending on how casual or high-end your brand is, you may also choose to let your staff write their own descriptions for your website, including personal as well as professional information.
Keep in Touch
The last, but perhaps most effective, way to communicate recognition to your staff and fellow employees is simply to meet with them, one-on-one, on a consistent basis. Though some people may consider weekly check-ins a waste of time, foregoing them presents the risk of losing valuable, timely feedback from your team. If you prioritize one-on-one time with each of your team members, they’re much more likely to feel that their voices are being heard and that their contributions are valued.
The next time you’re looking for ways to boost morale and motivation, look at your culture before your budget. A little bit of recognition can go a long way toward building happiness and loyalty among your employees.11