5 Most Important Ways To Recognize Your Employees

Jeana Quigley

Small group of business colleagues standing in colonnade, holding paper cups, talking, side view --- Image by © Juice Images/CorbisOne of the most satisfying parts of being in HR or management is getting opportunities to make employees feel good. One surefire way to do that is by recognizing them when they stand out in a way that deserves more than just a paycheck.

You can get a lot of mileage out of a little effort when you focus on employee recognition in the right way—and timing has to be just right.

To get the most of out your employee recognition efforts, follow these 5 tips:

  1. Recognize them right away. Notice an employee doing something great? The time to mention it is now. You should never miss an opportunity to motivate your people, and immediate recognition gives employees instant feedback. The more time that passes between the action and the recognition, the lower the impact of that recognition. Millennials, especially, require immediate recognition for accomplishments, according to a study done by the York College of Pennsylvania’s Center for Professional Excellence.
  1. Sometimes you want to recognize people in a more official and public way. A company meeting or team meeting when your entire staff is together is a great time to recognize an employee who does something that deserves major recognition. That way you can put that great behavior on a pedestal for all your other employees to aspire to. Just be sure that you know how your employees like to be recognized—some employees might be uncomfortable being put in the spotlight and could be embarrassed. A great time to bring achievements to light is when department goals align with company-wide goals. At my company, love to talk about our company values. They come up at most company meetings, and we reward performance when goals align. Showing that this can be done creates more unity among the team and helps employees do more meaningful work. You’ll be reinforcing your company’s overall purpose in employees’ day-to-day tasks.
  1. Recognize often. Did you know that most employees want some sort of recognition every 7 days? That means you need to find ways—even if they’re small and unique—to recognize your great employees often to reassure them they’re headed in the right direction and encourage them to keep going.
  1. Don’t recognize employees for something they did well and then add criticism. If you lump together the good and the bad, your employees will feel that you don’t really value their good performance. Make sure you set aside a separate time (and definitely less public place) to tackle what can still be improved.
  1. Remember that the point of all this recognition (and rewards, when you have the budget for it) is to motivate your employees to do even better. That means you need to find the positive in all your employees. Sometimes you may have to dig to find things to recognize; other times it’s clear. But the bottom line is that reward and recognition can be a great tool for creating top-quality, productive employees.

Jeana Quigley is the brand journalist for BambooHR, the No. 1 online HR software for small and medium-sized businesses. Check out the BambooHR blog!