Your employees are your most valuable asset and the key to your company's success. Without a strong team of individuals who are driven each day to achieve a common goal, your business is susceptible to taking a giant nosedive into the dark abyss. As a business owner or manager, it's essential to build a strong employee recognition program into your corporate culture. By acknowledging successes and individual performance, you will be reinforcing behaviors and practices that lead to effective results. Additionally, you're communicating to your team that they are valued, which will drive motivation.
It's important to remember that your team is comprised of a diverse set of individuals. While one employee may salivate over having a steak dinner, another may cringe at the thought because they're a vegetarian. One individual could adore cats, while another is deathly allergic. Because you're employees all possess unique interests, needs, and personalities, your employee recognition program should encompass a variety of ways to express your appreciation.
So, how should you recognize an individual’s accomplishments? The first step is getting to know your team.
The Introvert vs. The Extrovert
A bulk of you employees may relish in the prospect of being publicly recognized and congratulated for their work - whether it's hanging their picture up in a common area, bringing in cupcakes, or even just making an announcement to the team. You might have another group of individuals, however, how are self-proclaimed introverts, and these types of public gestures are stressful and embarrassing. By putting an employee who's a bit more shy into this type of situation, you're essentially encouraging them to underperform. Because to these employees, a simple announcement can feel as overwhelming as delivering a State of the Union Address on national television. Make sure you know your employees and act accordingly when it comes to giving them a pat on the back.
What Does The Employee Consider an Accomplishment?
Actively communicating with your employees and having a firm understanding their goals throughout the year is an effective way to gain insight into what each individual considers a praiseworthy accomplishment. If your employee is striving to reach a specific sales goal or they're focused on growing your blog traffic by 10%, then you will know the moments, outside of milestones you've set for them, that warrant your acknowledgement. Or, if you've noticed an employee who beams with pride every time they resolve to a particularly difficult customer issue, be sure to commend them for their efforts when they're successful.
There’s No “I” in Team
If the purpose of your team is to work together towards a common goal, perhaps celebrating individual accomplishments feels like you are singling out particular employees in lieu of valuing collective achievements. However, there should be a happy balance between celebrating team wins and individual feats. Rewarding your team as a whole, will promote a sense of camaraderie and create a culture that shows - not just says - they value their employees.
If you want to retain employees and attract talent in this increasingly competitive, candidate-driven marketplace, you need to establish a strong culture that celebrates employee achievements. By doing so, you'll create a staff of motivated, highly productive workers and come to the office each day with their best foot forward. If you expect your staff to perform at a high level and work tirelessly without providing anything in return, it will foster resentment, apathy toward producing quality work, and leave your staff feeling like they aren't valued.
Through acts of appreciation, you are demonstrating not only that their hard work matters, but they're contributing to the larger goals of the organization. Just remember, a reward is not one-size-fits-all, so it’s crucial to invest the time in knowing your teams goals and preferences. By doing this, you'll be seen as a true leader figure who values individual input and encourages each player on the team to succeed.