Labor Day is right around the corner—how will you be celebrating? Sometimes in the rush to make plans for the last long weekend before summer is officially over, we forget that Labor Day was established to celebrate “the social and economic achievements of American workers.” Consider marking the occasion by showing your employees how much you truly value their contributions to the workplace. Why?
“Forty percent of employed Americans would put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often, according to a recent survey by OGO and 63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to pursue a new job, according to a recent survey by Survey Monkey and Bonusley of 1,500 working Americans.”
In addition to higher engagement and productivity and increased retention and recruitment, studies have found employee recognition can also lead to decreased absenteeism. So not only is recognizing and rewarding your employees the right thing to do, it can also have a positive impact on your organization’s bottom line. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
1. Personalize the recognition
An important part of being a good leader is possessing emotional intelligence and empathy. You should seek to understand your employees and what motivates them. How? It can be as simple as just asking them how they would like to be recognized and rewarded. By doing this, you can tailor recognition and rewards to each employee’s preferences and achievements. This shows that you've noticed each employee’s unique contributions and that you value them as an individual.
2. Consider your timing
If you are recognizing employees for completing a specific task or project, recognition and rewards should be given soon after the specific goals have been met—this helps employees connect their efforts with the recognition. However, certain occasions, like work anniversaries or year-end (or Labor Day!) may call for a more general recognition of how employees contribute to the success of your organization every day.
3. Use a mix of rewards
Different employees may prefer different forms of recognition. As mentioned above, considering how you can personalize your praise or reward will go a long way towards making employees feel valued. This article from Forbes recommends everything from public and private praise (verbal or written) or plaques, badges, and prizes to gifts (monetary or otherwise) and tenure awards (e.g. bonuses and extra vacation days). Some employees may value opportunities to showcase their achievements, like a mention on the company website or during a team meeting. Others might be excited by the chance to have lunch with a member of the senior leadership team. And still others might simply enjoy a spa day or tickets to a sports event.
4. Boost employee morale
Recognizing employees for specific accomplishments is important, but so too is regular recognition of your team’s success. Offering benefits above and beyond what is required shows your employees you value them and keeps them engaged and more likely to stay with your organization. Professional development opportunities, like training programs, workshops, and conferences, show your employees that you are invested in their growth and future in or outside your organization. Though much more common post-pandemic, flexible work arrangements like flexible work hours or remote work options demonstrate your trust and commitment to work-life balance. And finally, sometimes you just need to throw a party! Team or company-wide celebrations and appreciation events not only boost morale, but also act as a team-building opportunity.
Recognizing and rewarding employees is essential for employee engagement, increasing motivation, and fostering a positive work environment. Remember that genuine recognition and rewards should come from a place of sincerity. Be consistent, fair, and transparent in your approach to ensure all employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions.