Note the goal here is to encourage the best possible performance from all team members (including yourself!) and not to try to manipulate people. This certainly doesn't mean we all need to pad each other on the back and build a perfectly harmonic environment. In some cases it might be helpful to have a more competitive environment to achieve the best possible goal. In any case there are thousands to books, podcasts, articles etc on this topic. Below I have put some key idea's that I consider a good starting point for Employee Recognition. Note that while most of these idea's are not new we need to implement them to ensure they help our team. Are you doing any of these in your team?
Here 20 Employee Recognition idea's for your team
- Say "Thank you!" - In person whenever possible or written to give more visibility to other people. This is easy and probably the most important but unfortunately not nearly done often enough. Note that this needs to be personal and honest! If you need to fake it don't do it!
- Offer Job Rotations or consider Job Promotions (for people who show initiative)
- Start a program that allows employees to submit suggestions for improvement. In order to make this effective you need to be ready to implement (some of) these improvements
- Allow employees to choose their next assignment
- Provide interesting work/project
- Facilitate Training (technical and non-technical)
- Recognize Anniversaries (Birthdays, long service etc.). When you do that don't give away cheap stuff. This needs to be done sincerely with appreciation or not done at all.
- Buy books and magazines for your team (not just business related books but everything that is intellectually stimulating)
- Have a Wall of Fame with Photos of your team
- Provide Gift Cards (e.g. Starbucks, Amazon, Best Buy etc.)
- Cinema/Movie Tickets
- Provide "Work from home" opportunities
- Give publicly credit for employees who deserve it. E.g. write a Thank you message to your employees on the entrance door of your building or office, make sure senior leaders get visibility to this as well
- Promote Team building activities (e.g. once per week/month/quarter ... whatever works for your team). This could be a company picnic, pizza party, ice-cream afternoons, get together at the end of the day etc.
- Provide Educational Opportunities (e.g. ongoing professional development, language, scholarships etc.)
- Setup regular Lunch or Dinner with Senior Leaders
- Showcase your employees and their work to your leaders. Communicate clearly why they are important to your team. Add pictures when possible and appropriate
- Show sincere interest in your employees' professional development. You need to follow up on this with action to make it authentic. This doesn't mean that you can give everyone what they want but you can help show a way that can get them there. Keep in mind that you will benefit from a strong network as well since your employees will go off to different areas of your company or switch companies
- Publicly communicate an employee's ideas and suggestions and their positive impact to your team
- Time off for Charity or Volunteer work
The key for all these ideas (and the thousands more that you can find on Google etc.) is that you keep the team motivated, engaged and feeling valued and appreciated. Don't underestimate these ideas they can really make a difference.