Employees are the backbone of any business. Yet too often, higher-ups forget to recognize employees’ efforts, making them feel underappreciated and unhappy at work.
According to Zippia, 29% of employees haven’t received recognition for good work for over a year, if they’ve received any at all. Additionally, 80% of employees say they’d work harder if they felt appreciated, and employees who do receive recognition are nearly six timaes more likely to stay at their jobs than those who do not.
It’s clear that recognizing employees for all the hard work they do can lead to higher rates of retention, more loyalty, and happier employees overall. If you want to recognize your employees but don’t know which ways are most effective, here are a variety of ideas to get you started.
1. Recognize Employees With Meet-and-Greets With the Leadership Team
Aside from their own managers, employers may not get to interface with the company higher-ups. Let your employee pick a place to grab lunch, and then arrange a meeting between them and a boss so the boss can get to know them better, asking them about their hobbies, interests, and goals.
2. Take Them on a Retreat
Company retreats allow employees to meet with their colleagues and bosses, participate in teambuilding activities, step outside of their everyday routine, and rest and recharge in a new, fun place. Post-Covid, employees may especially be itchy to hang out with one another and explore an interesting destination. Employees that have only worked remotely may have the chance to finally meet their coworkers in person, which is incredibly valuable. Poll the employees to see what retreat would be appealing, including possible dates, times, locations, and activities.
3. Celebrate Their Work Anniversaries
When an employee has a work anniversary, announce it to the office and on virtual messaging channels like Slack or email. You could give them a card and gift to show that you appreciate their loyalty to your company.
4. Celebrate Their Birthdays
Another great idea is to celebrate your employees’ birthdays. Find out their favorite dessert and bring it in, and ask their colleagues to sign a card for them.
Is your team remote? Here are 10 Ways to Celebrate Employee Birthdays Remotely
5. Do Free Lunch Days to Reward Employees
Once a month, or once a week, you could bring in catered food for employees or hire a local food truck to park outside the office and supply lunch to your employees. This works well on Fridays, when employees are exhausted at the end of the week and wanting to commemorate another five days of productivity. If you have a hybrid or remote team, consider a meal stipend so they can get lunch delivered!
6. Highlight Achievements on Slack
You could start a special #Achievements channel on Slack, and post updates there when employees accomplish something. They will receive your recognition as well as recognition from colleagues when you do this.
7. Call Out Accomplishments During All-Hands Meetings
When you gather your teams together for an all-hands meeting, the higher-ups should talk about employees’ achievements during the past quarter.
8. Host Lunch & Learns
Employees feel valued when they can show off their unique talents and teach their colleagues new skills with a lunch and learn. Ask the person teaching the class what kind of food they would like to be served.
9. Give Employees a Surprise Day Off
After employees complete a big project, or perhaps at the end of a particularly stressful week, month, or quarter, reward your employees with a surprise day off. A Friday off is always appreciated, since employees will be able to travel or celebrate an extended weekend at home.
10. Give Charitable Donations
Giving back is important, especially around the holidays. You could survey employees about their favorite charities, and then donate to those charities to share that you care about their causes. You could also offer a charitable giving stipend, and let employees choose the causes they care about most.
11. Instead of Discount Programs, Use Stipends
We at Compt believe that employee engagement with your employee recognition efforts is higher when you offer choice. So instead of a discount program to vendors they’ll never use otherwise, give them the power of choice with a Treat Yourself stipend.
12. Invest in Employee Wellness
Healthy employees make for more engaged employees. Your wellness stipend could include a gym membership, discounts on healthy food, fitness classes at work, and free mental health apps. Show your employees that you want them to be healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally, and be able to present their best selves at work and beyond.
13. Hold a Wellness Day
Along with providing wellness benefits, hold a wellness day at your office. Let employees sign up for yoga, massages, facials, and more and take a half or full day to relax and pamper themselves. They will surely come into work refreshed and rejuvenated the next day and feel appreciated that you made the effort for them.
14. Have Town Hall Meetings
With an open town hall, employees can offer their feedback to the higher-ups. This will encourage dialogue between employees and their bosses, as well as demonstrate to employees that bosses care about what they think. It’ll also show they are interested in working together, and not just doling out orders.
15. Allows Dogs in the Office
As long as nobody has allergies, and dogs are friendly and up-to-date on their vaccines, you can allow your employees to bring their pups to work. This can help reduce their stress and create a happier environment for everyone.
16. Give Free Parking
If you’re in a place where it’s hard to find parking, give your employees free parking spots that are close to your building. They shouldn’t have to walk far to get to work.
17. Subsidize Public Transportation and Rideshares
If employees don’t own a car or don’t want to drive theirs to work, you could subsidize or outright pay for their public transportation and rideshare costs. Then, they will be more incentivized to come into the office. One way to do this is to offer a transportation stipend.
18. Give Away Company Swag
Giving away company swag as part of an employee recognition program is a great way to show appreciation for employees and recognize the team culture you’re trying to build. Not only can customized items like apparel, bags, drinkware, and accessories increase brand visibility, but they also serve as a tangible reminder of the recognition your team worked so hard to earn!
At Compt, we all got a really warm and cozy blanket that can fold itself into a pillow. We also give each new team member a coffee mug with a number on it signifying which hire they were.
19. Start a Peer-to-Peer Recognition Program
With a peer-to-peer recognition program, like one from Compt, colleagues can celebrate and recognize each other’s successes. They can give each other rewards as well, which will strengthen employees’ relationships with one another and encourage teamwork. Employees will see that they’re in it together.