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12 of the Best Staff Recognition Ideas That Inspire Productivity

November 12, 2018

Effective staff recognition ideas have the potential to completely change your company's culture—for the better

Take a long, hard look around your organization. Do you see your employees:
  • Struggling to complete work in a timely fashion?
  • Running low on creative ideas or inspiration?
  • Asking for more benefits?
  • Quitting their jobs in record numbers?

If so, there's a good chance your employees feel undervalued and it's time to start brainstorming staff recognition ideas. Studies have revealed that 79% of people who quit their jobs cite "lack of appreciation" as their primary reason for hitting the road.

In addition to helping you keep your staff, appreciation also increases productivity. Many of the same studies about employee satisfaction also point to the fact that recognition from a manager is the number one inspiration for employees to produce great work. Nothing else—promotions, higher pay, or autonomy—even come close.

Frequent recognition is associated with meaning at work. Those recognized within the last month are 29% more likely to agree with the statement, "The work we do at my organization has meaning and purpose to me," compared to those who have never been recognized.

So, what are you doing to make sure your workers know how much you value them as not just employees, but as people? Whether you're already making an effort or have a long way to go, create a plan for recognizing your staff regularly—and stick to it.


Boost Morale (and Profits)
with these staff recognition ideas

1. Make it public.
It's necessary and wonderful to recognize your staff within the walls of your organization, but consider posting certain achievements on your company's social media pages. Not every single event is going to warrant a post, but if you have a few employees that go above and beyond, figure out a way to appropriately honor them on social media.

Bonus: Their family and friends will likely comment or share, giving your company more visibility.

2. Personalize presents.
Some general gifts, like a Visa gift card, will almost always work, but go the extra mile to make things a little more personal. When a new hire is filling out their paperwork, include a questionnaire to discover their favorite things. Find out what size shirt they wear, if they have any pets, dream vacations, or favorite restaurants. Then, when they go above and beyond and you want to recognize the achievement, you already know exactly what they like.

3. Put a stamp on it.
It's nice to write a thank you email when an employee does something great—but don't you want to be better than nice? Never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note sent to their home via snail mail. It shows you went the extra mile to express your appreciation (and everyone loves getting mail).

4. Get employees in on the action.
Create a culture of appreciation by encouraging your employees to recognize their coworkers. In weekly department meetings, have everyone go around the table and say how one of their coworkers excelled that week. Or, have them stand up at the monthly company meeting and call out a couple of coworkers who had a big success. The goal is to get your employees looking for good behavior instead of focusing on the negative.

5. Free food.
Never underestimate the power of free eats—it's one of those simple staff recognition ideas that can go a long way. Stock your kitchen with complimentary beverages and snacks to keep employees fueled throughout the day.

6. Celebrate work anniversaries.
Employees are most likely to quit at the one-year mark, and there's a spike in voluntary turnover for each anniversary after that. So, for every year they stick with you, don't be shy about celebrating the fact that they're still there and you appreciate the commitment.

7. Annual employee appreciation day.
Once a year, shut down for the day and have a big, fun employee appreciation day. What you do will depend on the size of your organization and what your employees enjoy, but the point is that you're taking an entire day to stop and say, "Hey, we all appreciate you."

8. Monthly lunches.
Give each department a budget to have lunch. It doesn't have to be anything complicated—pizza is always a hit—but the point is that once a month, teams can get together, stop for a minute, and enjoy lunch.

9. Trophy time.
A little healthy competition can make work more fun for employees. Create some type of trophy that gets passed around monthly to someone who goes above and beyond. Make a big deal about presenting the award, and maybe give that person a special parking space for the month.

10. Celebrate birthdays.
Everyone has one day a year that is all for them (kind of), so why not make them feel a little special? How you celebrate birthdays will depend on the size of your organization, but it could be as simple as a group card or a small cake. Want to go the extra mile? Let every employee take a paid day off on his or her birthday.

11. Support passion projects.
Your employees have lives and passions outside of work. Consider following the lead from companies like Omelet, who reward top performers with paid time to pursue their passion projects—whether or not those projects have anything to do with work. This shows you value your employees and know they are more than just worker bees.

12. Paid volunteer hours.
Corporate giving is not a new thing but combined with your employees, it can become one of the best staff recognition ideas. For example, Embrace Home Loans allows employees to volunteer at an organization of their choice for up to 100 (paid) hours every year. And, the company will also match charitable donations up to $2,500 per employee, per year. This is an excellent way to recognize the causes your employees care about the most.

Not sure if any or all of these staff recognition ideas will motivate or resonate with your employees? Ask them. The simple act of soliciting ideas and feedback for recognition preferences is a cleverly disguised way to show your employees you appreciate them and value their input.

You focus on your employees, and we'll focus on you. Contact A1 Insurance and Financial Services LLC to ensure your business is fully protected.

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