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When You Think About Recognition, What Comes to Mind?

When you think about recognition, what comes to mind? A pat on the back and a handshake? Maybe recognition is a gift card or a commemorative watch. It could be all of these things, but when most people think recognition, they think awards.

Awards are a wonderful symbol of an employee's accomplishments. And it helps employees stay motivated and energized about their job. A recent survey conducted by a Connecticut-based recruitment firm shows that employees who feel recognized and valued at their job are more satisfied and more productive.

The end of the year is a wonderful opportunity to think about starting the new year off right with a recognition program for your organization. But how do you begin? Here are a couple of key questions to ask when planning your program:

1. What is your goal? Whether you need to update your old recognition program or begin a brand new one, establishing goals can help focus your efforts.

Common goals include:

  • increasing sales
  • building morale
  • improving customer service
  • encouraging safety
  • fostering teamwork

2. What is your budget? While a recognition program doesn't have to break the bank, it's important to budget enough money to recognize your people throughout the entire year. Make sure you calculate in all elements of your program: awards, cards, gifts, certificates, etc. It's important to include several levels of accomplishments to easily recognize as many employees as possible.

3. Who is your audience? You may want to consider developing multiple programs for the different departments in your company or based on your goals. There are many ways to recognize your people including outstanding service, length of service, top sales, excellence, spirit and safety, just to name a few.

4. How will you communicate it? You can't just build a program and expect your employees to understand it, you must advertise who is eligible, the criteria for winning, the rewards they'll receive, and when the awards will be presented. Build excitement around your program and make it something employees feel they can achieve.

5. What is the reward? Here's a chance to make your recognition special. Make sure you give them an award that clearly states their achievement. Give them a hand-written card that thanks them for their efforts. And decide now if you would like to give them a reward such as a gift card or small gift.

And don't forget to continually monitor your program and get feedback from the people who matter most—your employees. A successful recognition program that sincerely reflects your appreciation can prove to be an invaluable tool in motivating your employees.

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