Ideas for Informal Recognition That Make a Difference

You are a business leader, and you have more to do every day than think about ways to keep your workforce engaged. Yet, if you don’t take the time to keep your workers feeling properly appreciated for their effort and achievement, your company will have a serious turnover problem that results in lower revenues and less success.

Fortunately, employee recognition does not have to demand too much of your time or attention. First, you can use a recognition platform like Workhuman to track metrics associated with recognition and ensure that your efforts are having an effect. Secondly, you can commit to showing your staff a variety of informal recognition, like the following:

Investing in Personal Relationships

One of the best ways to be a business leader is to get personal with your employees. Your workers are more than the projects they complete for you or the revenues they bring in; your workers are people with interests, passions and desires — and getting to know those personal details will help guide you in giving every individual employee the recognition that will motivate them to at work.

As a business leader, you should make it a priority to get to know your teams on a deeper level. During onboarding, you might invite them to lunches and cocktail hours to provide plenty of facetime for asking personal questions and building rapport. During this process, you must be willing to be vulnerable with members of your staff, which will help them feel comfortable and open up. You should remember important details about every member of your team, like birthdays and anniversaries, and you should make your office a safe place to talk about personal issues as well as professional ones. By building real, meaningful relationships with your workers, you will go beyond showing recognition, showing gratitude and care, as well.

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Saying “Thanks”

“Thank you” is the simplest and easiest way to show someone that you were paying attention to their actions and behavior and that you appreciate what they have done. At its core, a workplace recognition program provides you with a variety of ways of saying “thanks” to your workers, so you might as well integrate simple, informal “thank yous” into your interactions with your workforce.

You can and should offer a spoken “thanks” to your employees after almost every interaction you have with them. If they hold open the door for you, set up your laptop before a presentation, give you the report you were asking for, buy you a coffee — all these actions at the very least deserve an in-person “thank you.” You should also consider writing “thanks” in emails, texts or handwritten cards if your workers are remote or otherwise not available for some informal gratitude.

Sending Tokens

Sending Tokens

Many people are most motivated by gifts, but you don’t need to drain your recognition program’s budget every time you want to show some appreciation. Small tokens of gratitude can have more impact than an exceedingly expensive luxury gift if you make them personal to individual employees. For example, you might acknowledge an employee’s small effort or achievement by purchasing their favorite snack or treat, like a bag of chips or a particular candy bar. Other ideas for small tokens include flowers, a coffee drink, homemade baked goods, preferred office supplies or some item related to a worker’s hobby of choice. Thoughtful tokens like these do not need to be delivered with pomp and circumstance, but they will nevertheless show employees that you see, hear and value them.

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Acting on Feedback

Most organizations are more than happy to collect feedback from employees. Employee opinion and satisfaction surveys, employee engagement surveys, culture surveys and more provide practical insight into how employees are feeling, and they tell new employees that they have some influence over their work environment. However, most organizations do little with the information they harvest beyond creating graphs and charts about turnover, morale and performance.

Thus, you can show workers that you appreciate their perspectives, opinions and ideas by acting on the feedback you receive. This might involve developing solutions for problems in workflows; it might mean reconfiguring the composition and structure of your teams; it might mean altering your own behavior and it might mean campaigning with your workers for higher pay and better benefits from corporate. By thinking critically about the feedback you receive and taking steps to make the workplace better for your employees, you provide the ultimate information recognition of the value of your staff.

Once you get in the habit of showing your workforce simple, straightforward recognition in these informal ways, it will feel less like another task on your to-do list and more like normal workplace behavior. Then, a culture of recognition is sure to follow.


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