reward and recognize employeesHow often do you show appreciation to your employees for their excellent effort? Do you notice when they are doing good work and tell them so? Have you given thanks, in a genuine way, when an employee goes above and beyond the expectations of their job? Knowing how to reward and recognize employees for the work they do is critical for increasing employee morale, enhancing productivity and effectiveness, and increasing loyalty to your company.

In addition to paying fairly and having a process in place for determining salary increases and bonuses, regular appreciation and recognition for a job well done is an important part of effectively managing employees and creating a desirable place to work.

Here are 5 simple ways to reward and recognize employees for their contributions:

1. Thank your employees directly for a job well done

  • This is the easiest way to let your employees know that you really appreciate their work.
  • Citing specific examples of great work is often more meaningful than a simple “great job”. It lets the employee know that you recognize their specific contribution to the success of the company.
  • You may want to make the praise public to increase its awareness. However, note that not all employees are comfortable with public praise, so make sure to get their approval ahead of time.

2. Provide unexpected, spontaneous gifts or rewards

  • Whether a handwritten thank you card, a gift certificate, flowers, or a night of free babysitting, a gift given as a direct result of the employee’s performance can be effective way to show appreciation while also generating positive “buzz” in the workplace.
  • Customizing the gift to suit the employee will have much greater impact than a generic approach.
  • One of the keys to success of this approach is to ensure the gifts or rewards are unexpected. If employees come to expect particular gifts or rewards, the motivational impact may be lessened.

3. Provide additional benefits

  • In addition to your regular complement of bonuses, salary increases, and employee benefits, showing appreciation by providing additional perks or benefits is another way to recognize employees.
  • For example, you may consider offering a spot bonus, extra paid time off, an RRSP contribution or a health spending account top up as a way to demonstrate appreciation.

4. Give product or service discounts, or see if your suppliers will offer discounts

  • If your company offers products or services, giving employee discounts or complimentary services is a great way to reward employees.
  • Your suppliers and other companies with whom you do business may also be willing to offer discounts to your staff. Reward your employees by providing them with these additional discounts.

5. Advanced education & training

  • Offering tuition reimbursement or supporting a strong performing employee to pursue higher education by providing financial assistance and/or time off is a great way to reward employees. This also improves the talent base of your employees.
  • For many employees, career development and continuing education is a fundamental interest and value. If you can support this interest, you will likely increase your ability to attract and retain staff.

To effectively reward and recognize employees, make your praise timely by giving recognition soon after the employee has achieved success. Waiting too long, for a formal performance review for example, lessens its effectiveness, and the employee might think you didn’t notice the achievement when it actually happened. If you do not praise or give kudos often enough, your employees may feel unappreciated, which may lead to low morale and dissatisfaction. The list of ways to reward and recognize employees is endless and they don’t need to cost a lot of money. Non-cash rewards and gifts can be just as effective as costlier items.

For assistance in creating an effective rewards and recognition program for your Vancouver-based small- to medium-sized business, please contact Clear HR Consulting.

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