Biggest Employee Recognition Fails

You may have the most profitable company in the world, but your employees will always be your most valuable asset. Failure to recognize employees for their hard work and efforts can result in a severe lack of engagement and morale, creating a toxic work environment that reduces productivity and employee retention.

Employee recognition efforts are most effective when they are aligned with your company's core values and goals. To be successful, these efforts should always be part of a strategic leadership function that allows you to show appreciation for your employees' individual roles within the company.

Improve your company's culture and employee satisfaction by learning from these common mistakes:

Mistake 1: Not communicating employee achievements on a regular basis.

A lack of internal communication is a recipe for disengaged employees who will eventually grow disenchanted with your company. Communicating employees' achievements on a regular basis is an easy and effective way to show that hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.

You can recognize employees for recent achievements, including promotions, awards, board appointments and other accomplishments, in the following ways:

  • Include briefs of employees' achievements in all internally distributed communications materials, such as employee newsletters, the company intranet news and weekly email updates.
  • Post employee achievements to your company's social media platforms when appropriate. This could include posting a photo of an employee holding an award or a headshot of an employee who has recently been promoted within the company. The ideal social media sites for sharing these types of announcements include LinkedIn, as well as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Announce employees' achievements at weekly or monthly company meetings, expressing remarks of congratulations and appreciation.
  • In addition to publishing news on your company's communications platforms, encourage managers to personally congratulate members of their teams. A verbal "congratulations" can go a long way in making employees feel recognized by those above them!
  • Distribute news releases to announce promotions, board appointments, awards and other newsworthy points of recognition. These announcements will often be published in local media outlets, giving employees public recognition for their accomplishments in their communities.

Mistake 2: Neglecting to celebrate milestones.

In addition to recognizing individual accomplishments, it's a best practice to honor employees who have been employed with your company for several years. Milestone awards are often announced at monthly or annual company meetings in which employees are honored with certificates and gifts of appreciation for their long-term commitment and service to their company. In many instances, they are given to employees with work anniversaries marking as little as five years, or as long as 25 or 50 years.

Celebrating milestones can demonstrate to all employees that your company values longevity and recognizes those who remain committed to its mission. Not only does this contribute positively to employee satisfaction, but increases long-term employee loyalty and promotes a culture of professional growth.

Mistake 3: Rethink bonuses.

Though most companies treat bonuses as pure financial incentives for achieving specific performance goals, bonuses can also be offered as a way to enhance company morale. For example, consider awarding bonuses in the form of a "co-worker bonus program." This type of program would allow employees to award $25 or $50 bonuses to colleagues who they believe have exhibited a high degree of professional achievement each month.

Bonuses can also be given in the form of gift cards or paid days off. Co-worker bonus programs not only incentivize employees to work well on a team, but encourage colleagues to empower and recognize each other, resulting in improved employee morale and engagement.

Make sense?

Communicating and celebrating employees' accomplishments, as well as creating financial incentive programs that promote goodwill among all employees, can ultimately be one of the best decisions you make for your company's culture and bottom line. Establishing an employee recognition strategy will allow your company to experience a positive culture and growth, giving you the opportunity to honor your employees for their work on a regular basis.

And, remember, if the types of initiatives above are too complex for your company to implement, simplify your ways of showing appreciation. Here's one idea: Why not give a deserving employee a day off and ask your staffing partner to provide a qualified temporary to pick up the slack? Your employee will thank you!