Workers Need More Than Money

It’s no secret that employees who receive recognition are more likely to be happy workers. Motivated employees have higher retention rates and greater levels of job satisfaction, thanks to the understanding that special achievements will be recognized. Salary increases and one-time bonuses are expected, but at the same time, University of Buffalo research indicates that employees are rarely motivated by compensation alone. In fact, a 2011 study by Globoforce Motivation Worldwide indicates that 65% of employees already satisfied with their employment would work harder with better recognition.

Unsatisfied employees in the same study indicated high levels of resentment towards their employer, and minimal incentive towards putting forth their best effort. The U.S. Department of Labor supports this study, as their own research indicates that 64 percent of working Americans quit their jobs, even in the midst of economic recession, because they don’t feel appreciated.

What can managers and HR directors do to ensure their employees feel recognized? The first step is establishment of a timeline for acknowledgement. A Bersin & Associates Research report, “Making Recognition and Rewards Matter: Five Practices to Drive Better Business Results, “found that 71 percent of highly engaged employees work in organizations that recognize employees at least once per month.” Recognition often includes promotions with salary increases, applause, articulated thanks, and handwritten notes or cards. But what options exist beyond what employees generally expect of their employer?

Unique Corporate Gifts to Inspire

trophyStudies show that tangible gifts workers can hold in their hands have a lasting impact on morale. Gifts might include a set of company coffee mugs or drinking glasses, T-shirts, personalized pens, or chocolates embossed with the company name. Corporate gifts don’t always have to be work-related, but they certainly can be helpful tools to boost productivity in the office. If you want to recognize small achievements with a token of appreciation, consider engraved pens or a desk card holder that can proudly be displayed. To make each gift special and unique, managers should consider the value that comes with an engraved award. Employees will truly feel as if the gift is theirs and one-of-a-kind.

Corporate gifts should always fit the occasion and the budget of the organization. It is better to give employees smaller, more unique corporate gifts throughout the year than to blow a budget on one luxurious item. This type of recognition should be presented consistently for minor, but still noteworthy, achievement. That way, employees can expect to receive the gift after hitting a milestone as an individual, or as part of a team. A snowball effect will be created, inviting employees to work harder and better. Once they know that their achievements will be met with success, they’ll be more inclined to get work done.

Gift Cards and Gift Certificates Tap into Employee Needs

With gift cards and certificates, a manager has the opportunity to acknowledge the employee, and honor individual interests. To award the most unique gift card, a manager should take the time to learn more about the employee. A gift certificate that considers an employee’s favorite restaurant, sports activity, hobby, or travel plans are perceived as extremely thoughtful. Ask other employees or managers what they think the recipient would enjoy. Though it’s also possible to present all employees with impersonal gift certificates to a nearby restaurant, for example, this is unlikely to instill the same sense of being appreciated as a personalized gift card. Consider pre-paid credits cards or gift certificates for multiple stores if you want to give a unique corporate gift that can speak to everyone’s interests.

Awards of Distinction to Celebrate Milestones

A personalized plaque or trophy that can be proudly displayed serves as a physical reminder that the company recognizes extraordinary effort. These awards can be simple designs, or elaborate sculptures with personalized nameplates. Plaques can also be large office displays where employee names are added once they achieve performance milestones; larger plaques with multiple names can also honor members of a distinct team. Recipients might choose to display the honor in their office to instill confidence in potential clients, or at home as an ongoing reminder that labor is recognized.

Perpetual Plaques Build Excitement

Workplaces should consider highlighting milestones on monthly or quarterly basis to drive engagement within the workplace. One of the most immersive ways to do so is to utilize perpetual plaques. Consider employee of the month perpetual plaques, as well as plaques for top sales awards for any given month or quarter. By having a perpetual plaque in a common area space that can employees can look at, they can imagine their name adorning it. This will create a healthy sense of competition in the workplace and can boost engagement throughout the year, especially during lulling periods.

Public Praise and Endorsement

Career oriented social media platforms provide managers with a unique opportunity for recognition: writing a public employee review. This allows the manager to highlight what’s exceptional about the employee, and a willingness to let everyone know. While this might seem like announcing a star employee to the competition, it also shows that the company is confident in their ability to retain, and recognize, employees.

Managers and HR directors should work collaboratively to formulate different tiers of distinction, and unique ways to recognize star talent. These honors should consider your employees as individuals, and as part of a team. With a solid program and a consistent timeline, your company will enjoy the efforts of a motivated, happy workforce.

Don’t Forget the Impact of Public Recognition Events

Highlighting employees on social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter is a great way to make workers feel recognized, while also boosting your company’s profile and likeability. Managers and executives should also consider holding events where employees are given recognition awards. Having quarterly or yearly recognition events allows workers to see their hard work come to life, with an entire event dedicated to their efforts. Events like these can be made all the more special with trophies and plaques given to winners on a stage. There are a variety of categories to tap into as well, such as awards for top sales. Photos from these recognition events can also be posted on social media.