Although your employees likely come from a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds, perform varying duties, and have differing levels of authority, they all want to be recognized for the contributions they make to your organization. As a manager or executive, you should make an effort to recognize employees for their good work, not only because it’s a caring and compassionate thing to do, but also because it reinforces and motivates the exceptional behaviors that drive results.
You may want to begin with a formal employee recognition program that—just like any other business initiative—allows for proper planning, implementation, and assessment of results.
First, determine the particular employee behaviors you wish to reinforce in your workplace, such as punctuality, cooperation, or exceeding sales goals. Then inform your staff of the new program and the criteria for recognition. You could even ask your marketing team to put together a quick internal campaign to promote the program.
Next, begin to acknowledge the behavior by setting aside a few minutes during a staff meeting to recognize an exceptional employee and explain why their behavior merits recognition. You could also publish employees’ good deeds in the company newsletter or send out a company-wide email. Or you could implement an employee of the month contest and hold a special ceremony to announce each month’s winner.
Regardless of your method, you should also present some kind of memento, such as a signed certificate of achievement. (While you’re at it, you could post copies of the certificates on a “Wall of Fame” in your company’s break or conference room.) You should also try to include some sort of monetary reward such as a gift card—icing on the cake that really makes the recognition “sweet.”
Finally, be diligent and follow through—your whole plan may backfire and your staff may begin to perceive you negatively if you are unable to deliver recognition as promised.
There are also some fantastic informal ways to recognize your staff. Regularly walk through your complex and greet as many of your staff as possible by name. Ask about their families, weekend hobbies, or any special events that may be occurring in their lives. Although this process may take time, your employees will feel valued when you show a genuine interest in their lives. Of course, you could also do something as simple as bringing in bagels, pastries, pizza, or chocolates—for no reason other than to show your appreciation.
Although you may have ample experience in addressing isolated employee behaviors that threaten your organization’s smooth functioning, it may be even more crucial to recognize and reward the positive behaviors that ensure your company’s success. By acknowledging a job well done, you reinforce employee behaviors that foster operational excellence and drive home your bottom line.