Happy employees make the best workers. People who feel recognised at work contribute better intellectual capital, are more efficient and productive, are more loyal to the business and become the best ambassadors for the brand, attracting both business and top talent.
And who doesn’t want to work with a team like that?
However, due in part to a limited budget and a tight schedule, employee recognition programmes are commonly fairly unimaginative or, in too many cases, completely non-existent.
The interest around employee engagement has been piquing of late. But far from just being a trendy buzz term, this new practice is crucial to the success and profitability of our business. According to CityAM, disengaged employees are costing the UK around £85bn a year in lost productivity. Yikes!
Undeniably, it definitely pays to build a healthy workspace where people feel valued, motivated and recognised.
In today’s blog, we bring you some really easy, effective and budget-friendly initiatives that will turn your office into a wonderful place to work and you into a revered team leader.
A Few Ground Rules to Make Employee Recognition Really Count:
Sadly, keeping employees engaged and motivation levels at a sustained high is not a one-off task. It’s more like a wind-up toy, you have to keep turning the key for it to carry on doing its thing.
So, to guarantee your heart-felt appreciation is not going unnoticed, here are some simple ground rules to always keep in mind:
If one of your team members has done a cracking job cleaning up that messy data or upsold to a challenging customer, acknowledge it right away. This will give context to the recognised employee and those around them, helping to solidify what good performance looks like and reminding the rest of the team that you’re keeping a close eye on their work.
There’s a huge misconception that employee recognition rewards need to be show-stopping and only accessible to the really big players. But actually, rewarding for smaller milestones (and not just the big achievements) will create a much more positive environment where the entire team (and not just the top sellers) will feel valued and inspired to continue working hard.
It doesn’t matter if your budget is limited, what matters is that you utilise it on a regular basis. Keep turning that key!
Read more about why we should be rewarding the journey and not just the destination here.
It’s nice to be nice but merely saying ‘cheers’ or ‘nice job’ does very little to improve behaviour, productivity or ROI. As the leader of your team you want to always be reminding them of what you’re striving for. So, use these incentives as ways to focus on the targets you’re after.
Make sure your recognition programme is authentic and meaningful by tailoring your rewards to the person you’re aiming to honour. Add personal touches by including their name, make sure the thank-you gift is akin to their interests or that it can be shared with their family. Cookie-cutter rewards are very, very uninspiring.
Employee Recognition: Ideas to Make Employees Feel Valued
So, let’s get to it. How can we create a positive working environment that boosts productivity and keeps the whole team engaged?
Here are 10 meaningful (but inexpensive) ways to show them you care:
1. Get to know them:
Although this is employee recognition 101, alarmingly, in bigger organisations it’s not uncommon to find leaders who don’t really know their team so well. Nothing is more demoralising than walking past that big chief knowing they don’t have the faintest idea who you are or what you do for the company.
If you really want to have a team who feels empowered and cherished, make an effort to treat each individual personally. Greet them by their name, say good morning when they walk into the room, ask (and then remember) about their hobbies and out-of-office interests. In other words, make them feel special.
2. Skill Development Opportunity:
Hands up if you would love the chance to do the same old stuff for the next 20 years? No, didn’t think so. Show your employees you truly care about their personal growth by offering opportunities for development. Whether it’s growth within their role, extra training or even some free time to learn a new skill, allow pockets of time and resources for your employees to climb the ladder.
In the words of Zig Ziglar: “what’s worse than training your employees and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.”
3. Flexible Hours:
Now, I know this may make a lot of people nervous but stay with me. Releasing the grasp of the traditional 9 to 5 is an unbelievably simple way to boost employee satisfaction and spike productivity.
Allowing individuals to have some form of say around their working day creates autonomy, accountability and reduces stress. Flexibility is worth a lot more than cash.
4. Applaud personal milestones:
Nobody enjoys feeling like a number. Treat your employees for what they are – real humans with personal lives. Make sure you celebrate birthdays, marriages, new certifications, babies, etc. Even if it’s just a card or a couple of balloons stuck to their cubicle. Acknowledging their personal success reminds employees how much their personal welfare matters to the business.
5. Make success transparent:
When somebody has a good idea, performs above and beyond, procures a big account or does something newsworthy, acknowledge them publically. Be it through internal comms like email, in company meetings or through performance displayboards around the office.
6. Social Media star:
This one plays particularly well to your sales team’s ego. Publically recognise your employees on your company’s social media (or corporate website) with a little shout-out. Write a brief blurb about what their role entails, highlight any interesting achievements and add a good picture of them to your page. Public admiration like this will reinforce their value to the company and keep them smiling from ear to ear.
7. Invite a special guest:
I don’t know about you but hearing other people’s success stories really gets me going. If your team is looking a little lacklustre, invite an interesting personality to come and share their personal tale of triumph. And remember, you can adapt this to the available budget. There are hundreds of personal coaches and motivators you could hire but, if the budget is slim, invite one of your partners, founders or even customers to share their story.
8. Say it on a Post-it:
Sometimes, little sincere gestures can be the most touching. If one of your employees has done a really terrific bit of work, just give them a genuine thank you. On a post-it. Stuck to their desk whilst they’re out. Explain what it is that’s really amazed you and remind them that it’s not going unnoticed. It really couldn’t be easier to make someone’s day!
9. Appreciation Jar:
Let the feel-good factor surround the entire workplace with this simple trick. Set up a large container in a communal place and ask your team to write a shout-out to their fellow workers any time they do something amazing. Set yourself the task of reading them out once or twice a month. It will spread the love far and wide.
10. Kit out the office:
Is there anything more depressing than spending every one of your days sitting under fluorescent lights? We spend too much of our precious time at work so make sure your team is comfortable and proud to be where they are.
You don’t actually have to spend too much money on this one, but it will make a huge difference for the entire workforce. Stock up your cabinets with interesting coffee, healthy snacks and soft drinks. Give the office a new lick of paint, place a few potted plants around and upgrade their tables and chairs – it will uplift moods and create a positive and welcoming atmosphere.
And there you have it, 10 really easy but very meaningful ways to give thanks to your team and keep them feeling motivated and inspired to keep doing their best.
Not quite had your fill yet?
Keep a constant drip of employee engagement with our ultimate list of sales incentives, carefully crafted to excited and delight every single member of your team.
You can access the 115 sales incentive ideas guide here!