W

hen employees feel valued at work, they are often happier and more productive. This starts with employee recognition so that workers feel appreciated for the work they do.

In a recent study that examined employee engagement, 37% of those surveyed said that, “more personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work more often.” Despite this, the majority of employees feel they haven’t received any form of appreciation for their efforts in the last year.

When employees don’t feel like their work is appreciated, they aren’t inclined to go the extra mile for their organization. But when they do feel appreciated, they tend to feel more satisfied with their job, and employees are 31% more productive when they are happy.

So how often should employees be recognized for their efforts?

A Gallup survey found that employees are most productive when they receive recognition once a week. Yet, this doesn’t seem to happen very often. Authentic Recognition surveyed employees working in a healthcare organization and asked them how often they received recognition. This was the outcome:

  • Daily recognition: 2%
  • Weekly recognition: 11%
  • Quarterly recognition: 20%
  • Annual recognition: 17%
  • No recognition at all: 29%

That’s only 13% of employees that meet the criteria for what the Gallup survey found. With so much research backing the importance of employee recognition, you would think more organizations would take it seriously.

In this post, you’ll learn about successful companies that recognize and reward their employees, understand how small acts can have a huge impact, learn about traditional rewards, as well as new types of rewards, and tools that help reward employees. Let’s get started!

Successful Companies that Recognize & Reward

It’s all about creating a workplace or atmosphere where employees want to be, and the big tech companies have certainly paved that path.

Looking for successful examples on how to reward employees? Let’s start with Google. They found that cash rewards created jealousy and resentment in the workplace. So they switched to a reward program that offered experiences, such as vacation trips, new gadgets, and dinners out. In the end, employees enjoyed these much more because they were fun, memorable, and thoughtful.

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Apple, another company known for rewarding employees, customized its approach to paid time off. Not only do they offer more days off around the holidays, but they understand employees in different countries have different holidays. So they offer paid time off for the equivalent holiday in other countries.

GE Healthcare, on the other hand, displays performance and achievements on a wall-mounted dashboard. They also send out monthly briefs that highlight the achievements of each employee in six words.

These accomplished companies realize that recognition is a great way to motivate, engage, and appreciate their employees for their hard work.

Small Acts of Recognition

“The best part of appreciation is that it’s free and doesn’t consume a lot of time,” writes Kerry Roberts Gibson in the Harvard Business Review. “Anyone at any level can offer appreciation. It can be directed toward an employee, a colleague, or a boss. But when leaders get involved in the effort, a culture of appreciation spreads more quickly.”

If you’re a manager, it starts with sitting down with your peers to discuss what has and has not worked in the past. But at the end of the day, it really comes down to not taking your employees for granted. Show interest in their personal growth and say thank you sincerely and in person.

Traditional Rewards and Benefits

While non-traditional benefits are important to how employees perceive organizational support, traditional rewards and common benefits are still expected. Traditional benefits include healthcare offerings like life insurance and medical insurance, as well as other benefits such as retirement plans, profit sharing, bonuses, and housing. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), these types of benefits are important to 92% of employees for their overall job satisfaction.

New Types of Rewards

Looking for more unique strategies on how to reward employees? Many organizations are now trying new kinds of rewards to make the process more fun and exciting. Gamification is a growing trend that uses a digital environment to engage employees. They can reach different goals and objectives by earning points, statuses, and rewards to improve their skills.

The idea behind gamification is to encourage employees with an activity that doesn’t feel like work, and drive a little healthy competition between teams and individuals. Many people in the workforce have not grown up with digital gaming, so it’s a natural fit.

Another unique way to reward employees is through a points system. Participants tend to enjoy this incentivized reward system because it’s easy to grasp — “I earn this amount of points by doing this and I receive this award.” Plus, employees can choose rewards that fit them when they’re given a choice.

Some of these new types of rewards companies are offering include all-expense vacation trips, company outings, tickets to exclusive events or dinners, and even donations to favorite charities.

Tools to Help Implement Rewards

While all these rewards programs seem like a lot of extra work for team leaders to handle, there are tools to help provide employees with rewards so the employer doesn’t have to spend time managing this aspect of work.

A tool like MetaSpark matches incentives to performance through its unique "Sparks" system. Employees earn small amounts of Sparks for completing tasks on time. Over time, Sparks add up to meaningful rewards. Your employees can even choose the rewards they want - like gift cards to their favorite store or donations to their favorite charity.

Rewarding Employees is a Must

If you’re looking to attract and retain top talent, build a positive company culture, improve employee wellbeing, increase loyalty, and especially increase productivity, rewarding employees for their hard work is a must. There are multiple ways on how to reward employees. Even just by showing a little gratitude, you might be surprised how much your employees give back.

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