Employee recognition builds morale
Morale increases when employees feel recognized for their hard workProfessional leaders know that building employee morale is a key to fostering the sort of positive work environment that positions a company for growth. One way to build morale is through consistent, fair and transparent employee recognition.
Build morale with the following notes on positive reinforcement in mind:
- Recognition should be timely and specific in order to reinforce and increase the frequency of positive behavior.
- All employees who perform well should be eligible for recognition and should understand the standards and goals they should reach for in order to be recognized.
- Whether employee recognition is formal or informal, it’s important to communicate the specific actions that merit recognition so other employees understand that if they make similar contributions they will be equally rewarded. This is the key to employee motivation.
Informal Employee Recognition
- Say ‘thank you’. Never underestimate the value of telling someone in person that his or her work is appreciated and the extra effort given does not go unnoticed. Stop by the employee’s desk or call them into your office to offer praise. A simple ‘good job’ said in passing doesn’t carry the same weight as setting aside a few minutes of undivided attention.
- Take an interest in the employee’s outside life, including family and hobbies. Think about how you feel when a colleague casually asks about your spouse or children by name - it shows that you care about the employee and see him or her as someone who has a future at the company.
- When possible, offer high-achieving employees a more flexible schedule on holidays or slow seasons like summer Fridays (where employees take a half day on Friday) or allow them to work from home one day a week. Adding flexibility to someone’s schedule, whether it’s recurring or for one day, gives them the freedom to take care of a nagging task, like waiting for a repairman, or to spend more time with the family.
- Food, is morale boosting in any form. Take an employee out to lunch or surprise a whole department with breakfast or lunch. Bagels and fruit, picnic lunches, and ice cream or pizza parties make a special occasion out of reaching a goal.
- Giving employees a small token of appreciation, like a gift card to a restaurant or store is a simple, low-cost way to acknowledge and encourage their efforts.
- As the most popular form of employee recognition amongst employees, money gets its own section. The amounts of end of year or quarterly bonuses reflect the inividual performance of each employee. Whether or not a company recognizes employees with financial rewards depends on the company. This is a common practice in certain industries, like finance and sales, but it’s never a given.
Non-monetary Formal Employee Recognition
For a number of businesses, cash bonuses are either not feasible or unsustainable. While there are a number of non-monetary ways to formally recognize employee achievement, it may be a good idea to manage employees’ expectations by letting them know when financial bonuses are no longer a part of the company’s employee recognition program. This does not have to dampen employee motivation to do a job well.
- Follow-up praise with opportunity. Arrange for the employee to participate in a professional seminar or workshop, or to represent the company at a community event. Doing so encourages the worker to grow and expand his professional network.
- A handwritten 'thank you' note, with a copy for the employee’s record, will add a personal touch and give her something to share with family. Large companies acknowledge employees in the newsletter or bulletin board, which is an inclusive alternative to ‘Employee of the Month’ programs because this recognizes all high achieving employees.
- Small companies can multi-task employee recognition with upgrades. Reward the best employees with better equipment, whether your office needs faster computers or more comfortable chairs. In turn, other employees will take the cue to reach a little further and look forward to ditching their own squeaky chairs.
Employee recognition makes employees conscious of their actions and reminds them they are part of a team. It not only boosts morale, but productivity, attendance and momentum.
Human Resource Executive