"It' is not how much we give, but what we put into the giving." --Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winner

Your staff is terrific! Each one works hard to exceed goals and make the company a success. You want to let them know how much you appreciate all that they do every day. Good for you! Employee recognition is the best way for you to keep people motivated and loyal. Science proves that recognition causes the brain to release oxytocin, the "love" hormone, making people happier and more connected to their work. The result? Lower absenteeism, better safety, and maybe the best: decreased staff turnover.

However, it's not happening often enough:

  1. In a landmark ten-year study, involving over 2.5 million employees around the world, only 51% felt appreciated.
  2. A Forbes Magazine report showed that 87% of employee recognition programs were based solely on tenure, not performance.
  3. A second study by Forbes stated that "In 83% of the organizations we studied suffer from a deficit in 'recognition.' And these companies are under-performing their peers."

Even on the tightest budget, you should recognize and reward great work. Here are a dozen ways you can start today:

  1. Ask staff to post recognition notes to each other on a bulletin board or internal link. Add testimonies from external customers.
  2. Give people time off. Time is the most precious gift, and people will always remember that afternoon or day to do what they love.
  3. Send a letter to the employee's family, telling them why their loved one is so important to the company's mission.
  4. Do one of the employee's least favorite tasks.
  5. Give a coffee or carwash gift card.
  6. Create a fun "traveling award" such as a rubber chicken or whoopee cushion.
  7. Allow people to work from home or present them with a "flexible day" certificate. You'll be amazed at what gets accomplished!
  8. Give departments their own Week: Accounting Week, Programmer Week, etc. Recognize the contributions made, take them to lunch, make certificates.
  9. Create opportunities: be a mentor, chair a committee, do research.
  10. Celebrate birthdays, babies, weddings, graduations, and any happy time. Bring people together for cake and socializing.
  11. Establish a "Wall of Fame" for photos and clippings that recognize outstanding achievement. Mention staff in the company newsletter, too.
  12. Say "I'm glad you're here." and "Thank you." Priceless!

"Recognition is more powerful than any motivator. Research shows that, more often than not, cash bonuses get spent on bills and perks are soon forgotten, but recognition becomes a memory that is relived time and time again, continually building high performance."--Michael P. Connors, Chairman & CEO, VNU Media, Measures & Information

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