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Employee Recognition – What It Is, Why Awards Matter, and Appreciation Ideas You Can Use



Recognizing the work your employees put in is a crucial part of every business. Regardless of which method you use to award your employees, it should maintain an important place in your employee management practice plan.

When you give your employees recognition, it keeps them motivated and engaged with your company values. People enjoy being praised, and getting recognition and approval are some of humanity’s most basic social needs.

If you don’t provide your employees with enough recognition, then you might face discontent and disengagement from them. In the worst case, it might even lead them to quit. In fact, they’re 12 times more likely to.


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What Is Employee Recognition?

We can define employee recognition as the acknowledgment of a worker’s good deeds in a timely manner. You can do this with a vast array of methods. It can be public or private, grand or subtle. The important part is that you’re showing appreciation for your employee’s work and showing them that their presence in the company is valued.

What Benefits Does Employee Recognition Have?

I can tell you that recognizing employees is good, and it’s all fine and dandy, but if it doesn’t bring benefits, a business can’t afford it. Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely has been at the forefront of the thought that people are motivated by factors outside of monetary compensation in the workplace.

He tested it by having students couple pairs of letters from a pile of randomly lettered papers. One of the three groups signed their papers, and the other two did not. The first group saw their papers carefully looked over and placed neatly in a pile, the second-placed haphazardly in a pile without a glance, and the third had it shredded in front of them.

When asked to do the task again, the first group asked for the least amount of compensation, while the two groups who were ignored and who had it shredded asked for identical compensation. The study found that not recognizing your employee’s work can be tantamount to shredding it in front of them.

4 Ways To Recognize Your Employee’s Efforts

1. Praise Their Accomplishments

Praising your employee’s achievements in their personal and business lives is a surefire way to make them feel a bit more satisfied with their working environment. Take a bit of interest in your employee’s private lives. While some will prefer to keep their private lives to themselves, those who won’t appreciate it a lot. Throw a little celebration when they get engaged or have a baby. If they’ve accomplished something extraordinary, make sure it doesn’t go uncelebrated.

This is even more important in the age of COVID, where many more employees are working away from office spaces. A friendly call to tell them that you appreciate their efforts at work will go a long way. Or perhaps the next time you are hosting a screen-sharing meeting, you can praise their recent hard work — this may be a huge help to someone going through a stressful quarantine time.

2. Give Them Room To Grow

You want to keep the way that your employees get promoted as practical and straightforward as possible. Setting objective metrics and clear guidelines is a great way to ensure that your employees are working harder and feeling more satisfied.

When an employee feels like they’re working a dead-end job, then their retention and engagement swiftly crumble. By providing growth opportunities, you can keep more of your best employees.

When an employee that has been with you for a while wants to leave for another company, try offering them an improved position within yours. Sure, it’ll cost a bit to train them up, but it shows all other workers that they too can get a better position than they’re currently in.

3. Improve Their Workspace

You can show your appreciation by improving your worker’s workspace. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to refurbish their whole office and prepare roasted duck for their lunch. However, getting a little something like a brand new coffee machine in their lunchroom can go a long way.

Studies show that people spend around ⅓ of their lives working, which means improving that ⅓ will get you a lot of plus points with your employees. Sure, non-essential items like this aren’t necessary for the short-term growth of the company. But they present a source of happiness for your workers, who will help your company grow long-term. Improving an employee’s work environment doesn’t just refer to physical things. This can be investing in tools that will help your workers be more productive and efficient. For example, spending money integrating a sales automation tool could save your sales team hundreds of man-hours, allowing them to focus on converting higher quality leads and in turn growing their confidence. 

Other things like digital signage, improved rest areas, more natural lighting, and indoor plants have shown to help employees feel their needs are being recognized. Employees who feel valued are shown to work 60% harder

4. Good Job Bonuses

A $50 bonus feels much better than a $100 increase to an employee’s yearly salary. Bonuses are an excellent way of managing your employee’s moods.

Do not simply give out bonuses whenever. You should be factoring in bonuses in your budget behind the screen. Now, you’ll want to ensure you aren’t giving bonuses too often as then your employees will feel that they are becoming less special.

A bonus doesn’t necessarily have to be straight-up money. If you know one of your workers is a sports fan, getting them tickets to a basketball game will do a better job than simply giving them money.

The bottom line

Your business cannot exist without its employees. The happier they are, the better work they’ll do for you. Take a look at, say, Google. Google gives their employees full-on lounges and resting areas.

Most of these ways to keep your workers happy boil down to “pay attention to them.” Pay attention to their work and private success, pay attention to their non-essential needs, and you’ll have a blossoming workforce in no time.


While there are hundreds of ways to improve your employee’s happiness, we hope that the four easy ways we’ve provided here can give you a head start!

In Summary

The value that can be gained from recognizing the hard work of your employees should never be underestimated. It also doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, if done effectively, it can cost nothing but a little bit of your time and effort. It will go a long way in reducing employee disengagement and churn rates, which will keep more money in your business’s reserves in the long run. 

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