Employee Recognition

Recognition, Rewards, and Gifts: Powerful Motivational Tools in the Workplace

Employee engagement is a hot button topic for today’s organizational leaders. With a new wave of Millennial workers on the horizon, leaders must be extremely in-tune with the needs of their employees – unless they want to face the financial strain that comes with employee turnover.

Employee engagement entails more than a nice lunch or a pay raise. You might be surprised to discover that the key to engagement is simple and cost-effective: show gratitude. In fact, a survey shows that 88 percent of respondents found recognition from a manager to be extremely motivating – more so than money. This article will explore ways to incorporate recognition – along with giving rewards and gifts – into your routine and reap the benefits of improved employee motivation and productivity.
The Power of Recognition

Recognition can be defined as the acknowledgement of a person’s efforts towards meeting an overall organizational goal. The need for recognition is deeply rooted in psychology and is considered an inherent human need according to the famous Maslow’s hierarchy. This need extends to the workplace and is an extremely motivating element when it comes to productivity and employee satisfaction. Recognition sends a powerful message to the individual as well as to the rest of the team. The message implies that quality work will be recognized and appreciated and makes the employees feel their efforts are worth the time and energy.

As an employer, you need to be aware of your employees’ performance at all times and recognize the opportunity to praise them, reward them, or even both. If your employee accomplishes a goal or achieves a positive result, you’ll want to take timely action in a way that encourages a repeat performance. Let’s see what you can do.

How to Give Praise

There’s a variety of ways to give quality recognition for good work. For example, you can talk to them in person, send them an e-mail, or even commend them in public, in front of other employees. In any case, you’ll want to be aware of the recipient’s personality and communication preferences so you can present recognition in a way that is personal and comfortable for them. Introverted employees may feel more comfortable with a written e-mail or private conversation, whereas a more outgoing worker might appreciate a more public presentation or praise. Either way, this careful approach demonstrates your attention to their individual needs.

In addition, any praise should be specific, truthful, and personal. Along those lines, you’ll want to address the individual or team members by name to give the recognition a more sincere feel. You should also state exactly why the person or team is being recognized. Your praise should refer to specific achievements and explain the positive effects of those achievements. This will reinforce the behavior for the future.

Keep in mind that praise does not have to be so formalized. Day-to-day recognition also has a positive impact. Consider practicing spontaneous verbal or written praises throughout the week. Communicating gratitude on even the smallest items can be a huge motivator for larger projects and tasks.

Developing a Rewards Program

Tangible rewards are another way to express appreciation and increase employee motivation and work satisfaction. Although employees enjoy verbal recognition, providing a reward can be equally motivating.

For example, if your team completes a highly stressful project, you might consider offering a day off or an opportunity to work from home. If your employees do something that contributes largely to the company’s financial success, consider sharing a portion of the profits. Other popular rewards include training or personal development opportunities, flex hours, or a corporate gift. Little things may do wonders, so don’t hesitate to insist on those either. You can let someone decorate their office, provide them with a new chair, or take them out on an interesting outing. You’d be surprised how thankful they would be.

Some companies invest in a tiered rewards program where individuals may earn rewards at an increasingly higher value as their accomplishments become more difficult to obtain. This approach gives employees something to work towards and is extremely motivating.

Giving Gifts that Boost Motivation

Gift-giving is another way to motivate and reward your employees. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on your gift to make a difference and you shouldn’t always wait for them to do something outstanding. Why not give them a little boost at certain occasions?

To start, you’ll want to add your staff to your gift list for special occasions. For example, Christmas is prime gift-giving season, so make sure to think about your employees as you navigate the holiday season. You need inspiration? Consider gadgets – people nowadays love receiving those. And the great thing is that you can also give them at any time of the year as they will not go out of style so soon.

Birthdays are another occasion you won’t want to miss. Record each birthday on your personal calendar, and consider bringing cake or cookies into the office to celebrate. You could also take a more personal approach by decorating their desk with a fun birthday banner and balloons. Of course, an actual gift – like the mentioned gadgets, a gift card, a concert ticket, a spa coupon, etc. – might also be on your list if your company can afford it.

Impromptu gifts are just as effective as gifts on special occasions. Kind gestures at random times can go a long way in showing appreciation at the most surprising times. Consider purchasing lunch for your team or taking them out to coffee at the beginning of the week. These little acts of kindness will do wonders for your team morale and office environment.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, recognition and reward are important factors in employee satisfaction. You can express gratitude in a number of ways including verbal or written expressions, rewards, and gifts. Find the recognition process that best aligns with your organizational culture and you’ll be pleased with the boost in the workplace morale!