Three Powerful Employee Recognition Strategies

Here’s the simple, unavoidable truth: While just about everyone knows that recognizing employees for their hard work, excellent performance and efforts is a good thing that has a variety of benefits for both your company and the employees you recognize, it’s hard. It takes time. Time you probably don’t have.

Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ that help make it easier and less time-intensive. If you know you should be doing better on the recognition front but haven’t yet worked out a way to make that happen, read on! We’ll present three simple but effective ideas below:

Training, Training, Training

The more knowledge and skill a given employee has, the more value they add to your company, but few people like training. It takes away from the work day and dents productivity, which is why few employees flock eagerly to training sessions when they are offered.

What if you could incentivize training though?

With today’s technology, you absolutely can! There are a number of modestly-priced eLearning platforms available right now that make learning easy, convenient, fun and engaging. Even better, it’s a trivial matter to tie specific rewards to the completion of specific courses or sets of courses.

Granted, this type of thing does take some advance-planning and time on the front-end to set up. The good news is, once it’s up and running, it practically runs itself. Even the testing and grading or scoring function can be automated, and each course or set of courses can be tied directly to a specific reward.

You could even tie your company’s training system into your in-house promotion system, making the completion of a given series of eLearning courses necessary to move up in your organization, thus ensuring that all your top people have all the skills you need them to possess.

Rewards for completing key training modules could be literally anything: Extra days off, a pay raise, a token of your appreciation in the form of a modestly priced gift – the sky’s the limit.

Employee Referrals

Nobody likes to think or talk about turnover rates, but they’re important and finding top-quality talent can be a daunting challenge, not to mention an expensive one. Headhunters and placement firms charge steep fees.

But what if you could remove those costs from the equation? Instead, what if you started an employee referral program, where your employees, who already know your company’s’ practices, processes, needs and culture refer people they know to you when there’s an open position, then get recognized and rewarded when one of the people they’ve recommended get hired on?

Studies have shown that this type of recognition program significantly improves moral and reduces turnover rates because it makes the employees you have working together a more tight-knit, cohesive group, and of course, it saves a ton of money too, because you’re not having to pay those expensive headhunters to source the talent you need.

Again, the rewards here can be anything you can imagine, but most commonly take the form of a direct, fixed-sum payout to the employee who made the recommendation that resulted in a new hire. If you’re not in a position to do that, however, you can opt for a more modest reward instead.

And Finally – Customer Feedback

We’ve saved this one for last because it’s quite possibly the easiest and most powerful of our three recognition strategies to implement.

No matter what kind of business you’re in, you hear from your customers, probably on a regular basis. Of course, there are things you can do to make it easier for them to contact you and leave feedback, and you should definitely be encouraging more of that.

Among the simplest ways to facilitate customer feedback are:

  • Engaging with them on social media
  • In-store surveys if and as applicable
  • Phone surveys if and as applicable
  • And a feedback form on your company’s website

The more ways you introduce to encourage your customers to tell you how you’re doing, the more of that type of information you’re going to collect. When you do collect it, it’s important that you pass that information along to your employees.

It’s easy to ask a customer who gives your company glowing praise who helped them on social media, and it’s just as easy to ask that question on a web-based feedback form. That gives you solid information about which of your employees was the rock star on that particular day, in that specific customer interaction.

Once you have that information in hand, don’t hesitate to make good use of it! Single your employee out and sing his praises in front of the rest of his team. Give him or her a big, well-deserved round of applause, and if your budget allows for it, a token of your appreciation.

Honestly, it doesn’t take an expensive, extravagant gift to show how much that kind of excellence means to you. A small container of chocolates or other sweet treats. A tray of cookies. A gift card for a free lunch at a nearby restaurant. Any of these would be perfect, and if even those things are too much for your budget, then a handwritten note to accompany the public praise will do wonders for morale.

The bottom line here is that there are simple strategies you can begin implementing starting today that can have a big, positive impact on the people who work hard for you. That, in turn, has a big impact on their overall job satisfaction and productivity, which creates a positive reinforcement feedback loop.

The happier and more productive they are, the harder they’ll work and the more often you’ll see them shine, which leads to even more opportunities for recognition, and the cycle repeats.

The best part is, you don’t have to have a ton of money to get started. It doesn’t matter if you start modestly, what matters is that you start somewhere! Try it and see for yourself. You’ll be amazed at the results. It’s a crucial first step toward building the type of corporate culture you’ve always wanted.