Tips for a Happy Team: #4. Recognize their Achievements

Feeling unappreciated at work is one of the top reasons employees leave their jobs.

And those that stay are more often than not checked out and disengaged. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort—or money—to make your team feel recognized and appreciated. In fact, since businesses spend an average of $20,000 a year losing just one employee, it’s more costly to not recognize your workers for a job well done. Let’s take a closer look at employee recognition, and how to celebrate your employees’ achievements, large and small, to motivate your workers and reduce turnover. 

Employee Recognition: Why So Important? 

In one employee survey, when asked what the most important thing a company could do to encourage them to produce great work, the overwhelming majority said personal recognition. Acknowledging your employees when they produce good work, meet milestones, and complete KPIs and personal goals goes a long way. As mentioned, it improves workplace productivity, builds company trust and loyalty, and creates a positive work environment that both employees and customers respond to. Here are some stats that point to why recognition is so important in the workplace:

  • 79% of employees quit their job due to lack of appreciation.

  • 40% of US employees say they’d put more effort into their work if they were recognized more often.

  • 50% of employees say getting a “thank you” from their managers improves their relationship with them and builds trust in the company.

  • 65% of employees report not having received any recognition for their work in the last year.

  • Employees who don’t feel recognized are 2x more likely to quit within a year.

  • 75% of employees who get at least monthly recognition report feeling satisfied with their job.

Celebrating Achievements, Large and Small 

You’ve heard of the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The same can be said of motivation: it’s not a blow torch, but a campfire. And you, as a business leader, need to keep the fire from going out with frequent moments of employee appreciation. We’re not talking about the “participation ribbon” mentality where everyone’s a winner, and the accolades are hollow and ineffective. We mean charting KPIs and short- and long-term goals for your employees to set them up for success. The important thing is that you set up frequent mini milestones that employees can meet within those larger goals, and each of these are cause for celebration!

Studies show that for employee recognition to be impactful, it must be immediate and specific. In other words, your employees should know what they’re being praised for, and it should be done as soon as they reach a goal (or important milestone along the way). Our Hoopla app is an employee motivation and performance management tool that not only tracks your employees’ progress, but lets you display it on your office screens as a live leaderboard. You can even program the leaderboard to display celebratory messaging, music, and graphics when an employee reaches an achievement. 

Ways to Recognize Your Employees 

Sure, bonuses and gift cards are always crowd pleasers, but there are several other effective ways to say “great job” to your employees. Plus, since you plan on doing so more often, these ideas deliver high impact without breaking your budget.  

Give a public shout out 

Take the time to publicly thank your employees when they accomplish something. Celebrate them in front of their peers in a company meeting or special luncheon in their honor. Use in-office screens to post their photo and a celebratory message with the milestone they reached, or list their winning stats on a digital office leaderboard. If your employee feels more comfortable with private praise, you might instead send a company-wide email acknowledging their win, or a personal note of thanks from the CEO.

Gift them PTO or a WFH day 

You may not be able to afford much in the way of bonuses, but your workers will also appreciate an extra day off or the flexibility to work from home. This is especially appreciated after your employee has worked long hours to get to their goal. You're giving them an extra PTO day to recoup, or tack an extra day onto their vacation plans, is a goldmine of thanks. If you’d rather, you can gift them a month of half-day Fridays or allow an extra hour for their lunch break  for the week. 

Put them on your “wall of fame” 

A recognition wall is a visual reminder that you value your employees’ hard work. Instead of an “employee of the month” post, where only one employee is recognized and then the photo is taken down, a recognition wall lets your employees shine in perpetuity. Get the office involved, and have them write congratulatory notes of praise next to your employee’s photo when they’re recognized. Better yet, do it digitally using your office screens, and include fun, animated graphics, memes, and messages from co-workers. 

Appreciated Employees = Better Customer Service 

The “trickle-down” effect of employee appreciation is real. When employees are appreciated and praised at work, 82% of them say it significantly contributes to their happiness at work. Consistent, sincere praise boosts workplace morale and sets a positive tone for your company’s culture. Knowing that they are seen and valued for their contributions makes employees more likely to go the extra mile at work—and that includes helping your customers. Customers can tell when your workers are dialed in—and when they’re phoning it in. No one wants to be waited on by someone who is clearly miserable at their job. A worker who greets customers with the positive attitude of a treasured employee will give your customers the message that you care about people, not just sales. That’s the kind of message that builds brand trust and loyalty over time.  

This blog post is the fourth of five in this series. For an overview of all five tips, or a deep dive into the employee/customer experience connection, download our white paper today.