Thanking Your Employees and Creating a Culture of Recognition

employee recognition

This time of year, as we awake from our turkey-coma, we think about all of the things that we have to be grateful for in our lives. The people that we work with who help business goals and dreams become a reality are probably on the list of who we feel grateful for, and sharing our gratitude with them helps create a positive workplace culture. When employees feel recognized they feel noticed, appreciated and are less likely to leave. Employee recognition has a well-documented and well-researched connection between employees feeling appreciated and staying with a company. Here are some ideas for how to recognize and show your appreciation for a particular employee in the office.

Make employee recognition personal
Recognizing departments or teams for their work had value but it shouldn’t take the place of recognizing individual contributions. Calling out individual contributions motivates and encourages employees who go “above and beyond” and tells them that you notice the value that they bring to their department or team. This kind of feedback should be addressed to the employee by name and should include specific details or examples of why you are appreciative of their efforts.

Be genuine
If you’re only taking a lighthearted or joking approach to employee recognition your praise may be perceived as disingenuous. Employees should feel as if you’re seriously recognizing them and that your feedback has value and meaning. While a small funny trophy may seem like a creative feedback idea if it isn’t coupled with meaningful verbal or written praise then your attempt at recognition may backfire.

Share your praise
If the employee you’re recognizing doesn’t report directly to you then be sure to include their immediate leader on your feedback. Depending on the situation, it may also be appropriate to share positive success stories outside of the walls of your business on social media or in newsletters. Sharing your praise publicly lets customers and clients see more of the people that they work with and shares your culture of valuing employees.

Celebrate the milestones
Celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries is a great practice and integrates recognition into your company culture. Celebrating birthdays can be done for each employee on a small team or for larger companies can be done for all employees with a birthday in that month. Whether you celebrate by giving them a floating day off or a cake and a card, a birthday is a great way to recognize every employee. Younger generations are also more likely to move around more in their career, you should celebrate when they stay and want to grow with a company. Employees seeing anniversaries celebrated for long tenures also encourages them to stay and shows how sticking with the company is noticed and valued.

Sticky notes
Don’t underestimate the value of a sticky note (or an email). Giving immediate, personalized feedback is a pleasant surprise. If you are able to give a sticky note it can mean more than an email because of the handwritten touch.