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three ways we recognize employees - hand holding a trophy to employees

The 3 Simple Ways We Recognize Employees

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Employee recognition is a $46 billion “industry,” according to the Incentive Marketing Association. That’s a lot of money spent on plaques. Yet, according to a study by Bersin & Associates, 87 percent of organizations focus on tenure-based employee recognition programs (here’s your 10-year anniversary pen) and the result is they do almost nothing to improve performance or engagement.

A report from found recognizing years of service is No. 1 most goal for recognition programs, followed by creating a positive work environment, creating  culture of recognition, motivating high performance and reinforcing desired behaviors.

The top five recognition awards were certificates/plaques, cash, gift certificates, company logo merchandise and food.

Yet one of the best methods of recognition may be a simple "thank you." A study by found that more than half of workers said they would stay longer at their company if their bosses just showed more appreciation for their work. Eighty percent said they work harder when their boss shows appreciation.

How do you show appreciation aside from saying "good job." The study found simple things like snacks, lunches or thank you notes are effective.

Why is it the simple things that count? It might have something to do with how rare they are in the workplace. The Bersin study found that 70 percent of employee receive recognition either once a year or not at all.

Keeping all that in mind, every company's culture is different and every employee wants something a little different. We can't offer the perfect solution for every organization, but at SurePayroll we try to focus on personal as well as material rewards.

This is our three-pronged approach:

  1. Daily Kudos - One thing we can safely say is that employees want to be recognized for their hard work. And it can feel a little hollow when it only happens once in a great while or under extraordinary circumstances. We send out kudos emails on a daily basis, recognizing when someone has shown excellence in helping our customers.
  2. Awards - We also have a yearly awards show, where we can give out the medals and the plaques and, yes, the cash. However, the awards are not just bestowed by our executives. The winners are nominated by their peers.
  3. Free lunches - They say there's no such thing, but during our busy times, we cater in lunch for the entire company. We also have a cart that goes around occasionally offering treats from apples to cookies. It's nice to get free food, but it also creates camaraderie, as everyone gathers together to eat.

Many small businesses, of course, don't have the resources for a full-on employee recognition program. However, it doesn't cost anything to offer your support and encouragement, letting your employees know they're doing a good job.

Like our suggestions? Use and share our handy graphic below:

DIR Infographic Recognize Your Employees-01