Employee recognition: 15 little gestures that go a long way

Employee recognition is so easy to do. Yet so many businesses forget to do it. Before we dive right in with a long list of ideas, let’s take a step back and take a look at why it’s so important.

Recognised employees are valued employees, and valued employees

• Are highly motivated and give more in terms of output

• Enjoy their work and produce higher quality results

• Are loyal, enthusiastic, and boost your team’s morale

• Stay longer – saving you recruitment costs

• Bring new ideas, innovation, and creativity to the mix.

So that’s the benefits of employee recognition, now let’s get stuck into the ‘how’.

  1. Don’t let birthdays go un-noticed
    Make sure managers make a note in their diary, and something as small as a recycled birthday banner or team card will add a little sparkle to their special day.
  2. Encourage praise
    Just because an employee does something as part of their day-to-day role, it doesn’t make it any less significant or praise-worthy. Don’t become complacent and continue with encouragement – but don’t go overboard, otherwise it’ll lose its meaning altogether.
  3. “What would you like?”
    Asking for input is invaluable. It shows that you actually care what your employees think and want, and that they have a say in the business they’re helping to shape.
    Resurrecting the classic suggestion box is a great way to hear your employees without putting them under pressure – just make sure you actually act on some of the ideas.
  4. Employee appreciation prize
    It doesn’t have to be grand, it can even be in complete jest, but a monthly ‘employee appreciation prize’ will help to put focus on your recognition programme and give you a platform to shout about it.
  5. Reward achieved targets
    Admittedly, this one won’t apply to or be possible for every business, but if your set-up allows it, give your employees or teams time off or an early finish if they hit their targets ahead of time, or deliver something sooner than expected – trust us, they’ll appreciate it!
  6. One size doesn’t fit all
    Everyone’s different. While a blanket approach is needed – and okay – sometimes, don’t rely on it all the time. If it’s a Monday morning and you know an employee’s competed in a tennis tournament at the weekend, ask them how it went. Or if you know someone’s going through a tough time, check in on them before they go home.
  7. The classic sticky note
    The age old sticky note is still very much in fashion. If you’re having one of those ‘go, go, go’ weeks and you’re like passing ships with your employees, leave a little ‘thank you’ note on their desk if you can’t catch them in person.
  8. Treat them with…treats
    We’re all for treats. In fact, we’re probably one of their biggest advocates. Whether it’s a team lunch at your local chippy, random round of doughnuts or surprise stash of sweets, food is the way to everyone’s heart, right?!
  9. Spread your focus
    In every business, there are certain departments or teams that bring in the big bucks – typically, this’ll be the marketing or sales teams, but don’t fall into the trap of forgetting the other areas.
    Make a point of equally applauding the hard work everyone puts in, because each individual contributes in their own, unique way.
  10. Staff socials
    They don’t have to be a big deal like your Christmas shindig, but try to organise some socials throughout the year too. If you’ve got a big business, odds are, business-wide socials aren’t always going to be practical, so consider instigating it at a team level.
    Once a quarter would do and you don’t necessarily have to foot the bill, so don’t panic about your purse strings as you’re reading this!
  11. Care about their career
    Show employees that you genuinely care about their career and helping them to get there. Personal development plans and quarterly reviews will help with this.
  12. Celebrate anniversaries
    Whether it’s one, five or 25 years of service, make a point of noticing employees’ anniversaries. It doesn’t have to be time or cost-invasive, but something as small as sending an email to the team will show that you care, appreciate, and acknowledge it.
  13. Encourage continued learning
    Allowing employees to learn new skills will not only benefit your business’ bottom line, but it’ll make them feel great about themselves, too. Being supportive with time off for training, contributing towards the cost, or initiating internal knowledge-sharing are just a few ways you can encourage this.
  14. Pack in the pecking order
    Don’t make everything about seniority – it’s a massive turn off.
    It goes without saying that some decisions have to be reserved for certain individuals, but for those that don’t, spread the decision-making power. It might sound trivial, but little things like choosing the radio station, brand of coffee, or venue for a team outing all count.
  15. It’s not all work, work, work, work, work
    Achievements don’t have to be work-related to be celebrated. It could be a charity fundraiser, the arrival of a new niece, third place in a swimming gala or securing a mortgage deal, whatever the milestone, mark it with a simple ‘congratulations!’.

Need a hand?

Employee recognition spans far further than just your gestures too. From your recruitment and induction processes to your culture and employee engagement, it all works in harmony.

If you need a little help getting all your ducks in a row, then get in touch with our HR & Employment Law experts on 0345 844 1111 or via our Contact Us page. And if you’re a client, remember, we’re available 24/7 with our advice line.


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