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How to Succeed at Employee Recognition

Increasing your employee engagement, offering the best employee experience, and decreasing turnover & burnout are all influenced by one thing – an excellent employee recognition program. And since over 80% of organizations offer some form of company-wide recognition, succeeding at employee recognition can offer big rewards. With more workplace research being published every day, MTM Recognition gathered up the top five tips to make the most out of your program, ensuring you succeed at employee recognition.

  1. Offer recognition from various levels within the organization.

    No matter the sector or size of your organization, multi-level recognition is a must. To succeed at recognition, you will need to offer recognition from the organization, from the supervisors, and between and among coworkers.

    • Recognition from the organization.
      This could include service milestone awards, annual awards banquet trophies, and extra bonuses, days off, or free t-shirts.
    • Recognition from the supervisor.
      Considering the number one reason employees leave their organization is due to a bad relationship with their supervisor, offering a solid recognition program for your managers to use with their direct reports can be critical to retaining your top talent. Carousel, MTM’s social recognition platform, is an excellent vehicle for managers to send badges of recognition to their direct reports on a public platform.
    • Recognition between & among coworkers.
      Peer-to-Peer programs offer a slew of benefits, including greater teamwork and engagement. Additionally, offering a resource for your employees to express their gratitude in the workplace can lead to feeling more valuable and increased productivity! Make sure your employees have a way to recognize the outstanding members of the group.
  2. Make it varied

    Recognition comes in many forms and sizes, growing as your organization grows. Keep your recognition program varied by offering different types of recognition – annual awards banquets, social recognition programs, lunches out for the best performing team each month, and service presentations for your milestone awardees. Continuously update your program as your organization changes, maintaining engagement and excitement in your employees. As we now have five generations in the workforce (with Millennials and Gen Z as the fastest-growing groups), modernizing recognition is imperative. Consider a social recognition program that can be accessed from a mobile device at any time, like our Carousel Total Rewards platform.

  3. Make your recognition messages meaningful.

    While a simple “thanks” is still nice to hear, creating a true recognition moment provides a much greater impact. Any recognition should always contain these three key parts:

    • Show gratitude.
      “Thank you,” “I appreciate your hard work,” and “I truly couldn’t do it without you,” all count! Just make sure to include those words – your recipient will truly feel your gratitude!
    • Offer a detailed description.
      Did he/she stay late two Saturdays in a row to help you with your project? Create an incredible new method to save time and reduce waste? Include those descriptions into your recognition, whether it be in a social recognition badge, a hand-written card, or even on stage in front of the company. It reinforces the positive behavior in your employees and connects that behavior to the recognition received.
    • Make it personal and warm.
      Adding some simple details to the recognition can add a layer of personality and meaning. Mentioning small details like ‘keeping a sense of humor through an otherwise stressful situation,’ or ‘always having their signature coffee mug,’ can make a recognition moment that much more special.
  4. Cater to the employee’s language of appreciation

    Make sure to consider the language of appreciation of the employee you are recognizing. While most everyone loves to be rewarded and praised for their good work, how that recognition takes place varies greatly from person to person. Ask your direct team members how they prefer recognition – whether it be in a public presentation to the team, or in one-on-one lunch with the boss. Always reward each employee in a variety of ways, but by leaning into the preferred recognition language of each of your team members, they will get the most out of that recognition moment, and your organization will continue to get the best out of them.

  5. Recognize at Every Step of the Employee Lifecycle

    Just as recognition shouldn’t only come in one style, recognition should also extend throughout the entire employee lifecycle, from onboarding to retirement. Make sure your employees feel welcome on Day One by utilizing some of these great onboarding ideas. Provide a selection of social recognition, private recognition, and big annual awards throughout their tenure. Present prestigious service awards to commemorate their milestone anniversaries with the company, and knock it out of the park with some of our creative retirement gifts.

What are some of your favorite ways to win at employee recognition? Drop us a comment, or let us know how we can help you succeed in your organization.

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