Heroes, champions, role models. There are times when someone goes above and beyond the call of duty. Maybe she's the most reliable and consistent member of the team. Or perhaps he came up with an idea that streamlined operations and saved the company thousands. Whatever standard you use to measure excellence, recognizing staff members doesn't just make them feel good (though that's important, too). It demonstrates that the enterprise values its workers, provides examples and inspiration for other team members and can foster greater productivity going forward.
However, recognition is so important that you shouldn't just recognize workers once in a while - such as during an annual banquet or a monthly meeting. Similarly, recognizing only one or two top performers doesn't do much to transform and motivate your workforce for a while. Instead, the key to putting success and excellence at the center of your organization lies in acknowledging the everyday victories and ongoing efforts - for all members of the team. Recognition should be something that draws your co-workers together and propels them toward achieving common goals.
Recognition ideas beyond employee of the year
There are a number of approaches that create meaningful commendations. To settle on a particular tactic, take into consideration the size of your company, co-worker relationships, type of work and roles, as well as the personality of your honoree.
Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Tell the stories of workers' successes in team meetings or better yet - share them in your Intranet for wider visibility
- Establish platforms through which team members can recognize their peers for a job well done
- Provide free lunch or an ice cream social in honor of team accomplishments
- Offer time off, short sabbatical or flexible working options in recognition of extraordinary effort and contributions
A broader approach
Recognizing employees for their good work has the potential to inspire greater performance throughout the organization year-round - but only if it's done in the right way. Critically, you have to build a culture of recognition and encouragement as a foundation for the entire enterprise. Staff appreciation ideas that can be used intermittently throughout the year, such as to recognize individual successes right after they happen, have a much more powerful impact on morale and motivation than intermittent events.
Acknowledging good work helps to build a sort of database of excellence that can then serve as a useful tool for managers. For example, social recognition software that enables employees to give badges or other kudos to their colleagues could fuel insights into performance and talent. As an added benefit, this kind of portfolio of achievement could assist leaders with identifying employees to commend in a special way or to select for career opportunities.
At the end of the day, whether you're thinking about annual celebrations for top performers or recognizing effort and contributions on a regular basis, the crucial element is tying these initiatives to the broader values and mission of the company. It's not about getting employees to work harder so they can receive prizes - it's about demonstrating that innovation, creativity and persistence are valued in every part of the corporation's operations. In this way, work performance becomes a matter of personal pride for workers, a legacy that informs their careers and drives success throughout the organization.