February 14, 2012

Vital Tips for Employee Recognition

The Applied Companies was invited to write an article in 2011 for a Northern Nevada Business Weekly marketing publication. NNBW graciously allowed us to reprint the article discussing vital tips for employee recognition on our blog.

The month of March is designated Employee Spirit Month with the first Friday selected for National Employee Appreciation Day. Start planning now for March 2, 2012 to celebrate a company’s most vital asset. Better yet, develop a reward and recognition system for use throughout the year.

Productivity, engagement, and retention result when employees receive constructive and meaningful appreciation. How can you be effective with limited resources? Here are some tips from our human resource professionals:

Do set a standard and example from the top to create a company culture that reflects encouragement, courtesy, and gratitude. Get involved in recognition programs and festivities.

Don’t expect employee morale to improve when owners, managers, and supervisors elect not to participate. Leaders must show support to the team. The company can take a break. It isn’t stopping production; it’s increasing productivity.

Do establish criteria for recognition based on company goals. All employees must be eligible. Provide details on what behavior or actions are rewarded.

Don’t ignore an employee’s desire to feel like a part of the company. Awareness of expectations combined with belief and acceptance of the values and goals of an organization is a powerful motivator.

Do set up a company gift box or treasure chest. Fill it with wrapped $5 gift cards. Food, gasoline, dollar stores and Walmart/Target cards are popular choices.

Don’t assume you know the staff. Ask what motivates them - what makes them proud. Take time to listen for their likes. Create a simple poll where they can describe how they would like to be recognized.

Do offer sincere, honest praise. Describe why the employee is receiving recognition. A verbal “well done” concerning a specific task, project, or customer service is great. A handwritten note or thank you card is better. Let them draw from the gift box. Copy the thank you and put it in a drawing for more substantial rewards during Appreciation Day 2012.

Don’t flatter. It’s insincere and shallow. Dale Carnegie likens flattery to counterfeit money – it will eventually get you into trouble if you pass it on.

Do set budget and time commitments. Clear boundaries avoid the frustration of wasted time and hard work or false promises and grand ideas that never come to fruition.

Don’t go it alone. Create a “Happy Company” team to help generate ideas, schedule activities and purchase supplies.

Do present ribbons, certificates, balloons, plants and small toys. A daisy always puts a smile on someone’s face. Put together a “Treat Cart” that rolls out to employees. Let them pick from a variety of fun items – cupcakes, bagels, vegetables/dips, toys, books and DVD’s.

Don’t underestimate the power of the potluck. Appreciation Day can be as simple as the company purchasing sandwich makings with a sign-up sheet for employees to bring salads, chips and desserts. Top management can briefly thank everyone; present awards, then introduce a game(s). For instance, post a list of employees’ names and baby pictures (brought in earlier) – guess the correct match.

Do offer events at random times during the year. Combine monthly birthday/anniversary celebrations with each employee receiving their own card signed by management and co-workers. Casual Day, Brunch Day (bagels/orange juice), 15 minute stress busting massages during work hours, trivia games and contests like “Pumpkin Decorating” break up routines.

Don’t hold dancing, Karaoke, or arm-wrestling type contests that could put employees in embarrassing or inappropriate situations.

Strategize, embrace the uncomplicated and generate surprises. Employees will appreciate your efforts and so will you!


Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner with input from the 2011 Applied Business Solutions Human Resource Team. Fix has worked 15 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.

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