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Recognizing Employees to Boost Morale

Two creative millenial small business owners working on social media strategy using a digital tablet while sitting in staircaseHaving happy and engaged employees remains one of the biggest indicators of a company’s success. Every company wants to attract top talent and keep their existing employees fully engaged, in hopes of improving job satisfaction and lowering turnover. But what are the best ways to boost employee morale and recognize your employee’s wonderful contributions?

Reenergizing your employees by pointing out their talents can elevate work performance and boost office morale. Measuring employee engagement to know their recognition preference might be a good place to start: not everyone will want their picture hung on a wall or blasted out via email.

There are many ways to recognize your team! Appreciating employee performance can take various forms, showing your staff that you’re making an effort can go a long way in helping them feel valued. Here are some ideas to think about to help you boost the morale around your office by recognizing your team’s talents.


Recognition Doesn’t Need to Be Expensive

Employees that say they haven’t been recognized are more likely to say they plan to quit in the next year. However, it may seem that some of the programs you’re considering will become a financial investment that your business can’t afford. But the good news is that not all recognition needs to cost a lot of money.

While people are certainly motivated by financial gains and prizes, sometimes a smaller and sincere thank you can go a long way in boosting the morale of your team. You can have an email blast to recognize the people who are going above and beyond. Maybe you have a few Friday wins where you shout out a name or two weekly so employees will feel acknowledged.

The best news is that these recognition ideas are totally free. You just need to take the time to notice who is doing a great job around you. Try to mix it up so you’re not calling out the same people all the time. If it turns out you really could recognize the same individual often, go ahead and make a note in their personnel file so you can remember their work at their annual review.

Low-cost recognition can still trigger a high-impact. The worst thing you can do is nothing. You may not have the budget for fancy prizes like a vacation package. It doesn’t mean you can drop the ball on recognizing the hard work your employees are doing.

Other inexpensive options include having a dress down day where the dress code can be relaxed. These are especially nice in the hot summer months! Also, offering flexible work scheduling so that your office is a more relaxed and enjoyable space to be in. People love to work for the chance to go home a little early when it makes sense of course.


Offer Professional Development or Teambuilding Chances

Consider sponsoring some of your hardworking employees to a continuing education class to recognize the value they bring to your team. Investing in their personal development not only shows you respect them but that you want them to continue improving.

Great companies stay great because of their workforce talent and nurturing consistent improvement and growth. If you can create an environment that organically allows everyone to achieve their full potential you can boost company morale.

Periodic training, whether in-person or online can not only help your employees improve but also can show that you are wanting to invest in their future with your business. Professional development as a reward can be a lot of fun for employees and boost their morale.

Other options could include giving a small group of high-performers a chance for a team-building experience. You can keep teambuilding low-key with board game lunches or a potluck. You can also take a group out to something like an escape room to show how they can really work together. The possibilities of team building are endless.

Giving your employees a chance to connect and bond together can be a great way to boost overall morale and teamwork. Use a fun lunch or activity as a way to both inspire your team to work harder and smarter and as a more cohesive team moving forward.


Spot Bonus Programs

Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for their hard work on the spot? No one. And that is the philosophy behind spot bonus programs. These informal recognitions come with a prize of some sort, and are usually offered simply because someone is doing a great job! When individual employee performance merits recognition, don’t be afraid to reward them.

By taking the chance to recognize someone’s work in contributing well to your corporate goals, managers can publicly highlight the work they appreciate. This easy gesture can make your employees feel good about their work efforts and let them become more engaged in their work. Plus, having a small bonus doesn’t hurt either.

Most spot bonus programs have either a designated cash amount award or a specific gift card denomination. They have also been recognized by employees as reasons they like working at their company. Who wouldn’t like to be rewarded just for doing their job well?

Many companies also let employees recognize their deserving teammates at any level of the organization, inside or outside their own work team. This is a great way to hear about the good your employees are doing that you may not hear about at all. Some rewards are publicly displayable, like trophies or certificates. Some are monetary awards or gift cards.

If spot bonuses are too much of a financial concern, consider having everyone who is recognized for their hard work to be put into a weekly or monthly drawing. This celebrates the hard work of the company as a whole. Even those who don’t win the cash prize can be verbally thanked for their efforts, and a thank you can go a long way in boosting morale.


Recognize Service Anniversaries

Making the effort to ensure your employees feel appreciated and feel important to the success of your company doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence. But you should make sure you recognize your team’s annual service anniversaries at a minimum.

Taking the time to celebrate your employees on their work anniversaries is a great way to show appreciation, particularly on milestone anniversaries. The employees who feel invested in and thanked are likely to be those who go above and beyond for you.


A Final Thought

Boosting morale doesn’t need to be complicated, simply recognize your employees for doing a good job. Whether you offer prizes, fun, or just an email of thanks, everyone wants to feel appreciated at work. Making the effort to show your appreciation can go a long way in stimulating company morale.


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Author Bio: Gabe Nelson is a content specialist of over 7 years of experience, currently working with is a company that helps with employee recognition to bring teams together. Just out of high school he set off crab fishing on the Bering sea in Alaska. From there he went back home to finish his college degree at the University of Montana. He has a passion and keen understanding when it comes to Employee Relations inside and out. He has written hundreds of content pieces in numerous niches. Currently, he lives in Missouri with his wife and kids.

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