The upcoming New Year can be the start of surprising transformations – we all want eat healthier, work harder, and start January with a big, successful bang!

There is no reason your workplace should be an exception to this annual cleansing.  Show your employees that you care about elevating your business – and their careers – by implementing a new recognition program to revive your employees and invest in the year ahead!

1. Decide on a Budget. What value do you put on your team’s success? If you’re starting out low on funds, it’s perfectly okay to start out with a small recognition program and work up to something more robust. Knowing your limits is the first step to success!

2. Establish an Employee Recognition Committee. Choose a group of people from each department that will identify, develop, and implement the recognition program in their department. This team is your eyes, ears and leaders.

3. Identify Criteria for Recognition. What makes a great employee? Do they align themselves with your company values? What actions qualify an individual for recognition? What tiers of recognition will you have? Don’t forget to keep equal opportunity in mind. Ensure everyone in your staff, from the bottom of the tree to the top has a fair chance at earning the spotlight.

4. Nomination Process. Who can nominate employees for recognition? Will there be peer to peer recognition? How will these individuals submit their nominations? Work out a process and make sure everyone on your team is informed. Ask your employees for their input on how they would like this process to go – after all, they will be the ones benefiting from it!

5. Evaluate What Motivates Your Team. Ensure your incentives line up with their interests. Not everyone wants a plaque with their name on it, and not everyone wants a bonus thrown into their paycheck (weird right?) Have a meeting with your team and get an idea of what drives them to exceed. You don’t have to implement exactly what they suggest, but it will give you a better idea of where to start.

6. Choose Award Selections and Frequency. After meeting with your team, decide on what awards/incentives you will be rewarding. Frequent Recognition is key. Most employers believe a bonus at the end of the year is enough to recognize their employees, but your team works day in and day out!

Being recognized one day out of the year leaves 364 days of unrecognized efforts. Once a month is a good start, but make sure you and your recognition committee acknowledges the small day to day achievements too.

7. Be Sincere, Specific, and Timely. Handing someone a gold star at the end of the month with a pat on the back is just a waste of your time and money. Think about what actions your employee took that were worth the recognition. Did you sincerely thank them in a timely manner? Or did you leave them for weeks thinking their efforts went unnoticed until now? Your employees aren’t just in it for the incentives. They are in it to hear sincere appreciation from their managers and bosses. Set up a small ceremony or meeting with the whole team to acknowledge those who stepped it up this month/quarter/year (and how). This will also give a great example to the others.

8. Stick with it! So you started a recognition program in January, but your busy season struck – and recognition got pushed to the back burner. Tsk Tsk! The busier your company is, the more recognition should be present. Your team is working harder than before. Show them you see their efforts.

9. Measure your Results. It’s one thing to launch a recognition program, it’s another to analyze its effectiveness. Has employee retention increased? Has the general happiness of your team increased? A recognition program that is ineffective could be doing your business more harm than good.

2018 doesn’t have to be “just another year.” Give your business a new start!

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