Prioritizing Employee Recognition and Appreciation: 3 Secrets for Success

June 20, 2024 by Verified First

Prioritizing Employee Recognition & Appreciation

Employee recognition and appreciation has been a long-standing, yet often overlooked cornerstone of effective people management. Recognition and appreciation are directly connected to employee engagement, productivity, and retention. In fact, people who feel recognized at work are twice as likely to go above and beyond their regular duties with enthusiasm and excitement. 

While the benefits of employee appreciation and recognition are well understood, many employers struggle to create authentic interactions. Creating a recognition program is a great first step - but sustainable and impactful employee appreciation must go further. Successful organizations continually re-evaluate the ways they reward employees and what role that plays in overall company culture.  

If your organization is looking to recruit and retain top talent, it might be time to rethink the ways you add value and create impactful employee recognition and appreciation experiences. This article explores the importance of employee recognition, plus three key tips to help your HR team create authentic and motivating employee experiences

Why Employee Recognition and Appreciation Matter

Recognition and appreciation are powerful people management tools. As mentioned above, when employees feel valued they are more engaged and motivated. According to research from Quantum Workplace, organizations with formal recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover. 

People crave recognition from a young age - whether that be from teachers, friends, or parents. This continues to hold true throughout our lives, especially as people enter the workforce. Employee recognition and appreciation can help your organization:

  • Recruit and retain top talent
  • Boost employee engagement
  • Increase sustainable productivity
  • Improve team and company culture

Creating a Culture of Recognition and Appreciation

Many organizations, even those with defined company cultures, encounter challenges with employee recognition and appreciation. While there is no universal program for every business, creating a culture of recognition and appreciation is a great place to start. 

Let’s explore three key tips for creating authentic employee experiences that can help improve your company’s bottom line. 

Democratize Recognition and Appreciation

Recognition and appreciation can come in many forms. Being recognized by peers can be just as meaningful and effective as recognition from leadership. Creating and encouraging opportunities for peer recognition can also:

  • Increase employee’s opportunities to receive recognition
  • Reinforce desired behaviors and company culture standards
  • Strengthen team dynamics and synergy

There are many ways to encourage peer recognition among your employees. Software company Atlassian developed a “Kudos” program that enables employees to recognize and give kudos to their team members' hard work and contributions. These recognitions can be accompanied by gifts – anything from gift cards to books or coffee. Last year, Atlassian gave out over 50,000 kudos. 

By empowering recognition, and making it accessible to everyone, you can create sustainable and authentic employee experiences. 

Pro tip: Be inclusive! Be thoughtful and intentional about recognizing all kinds of work, from all kinds of employees. Don’t just focus on high-profile projects or big sales. Make sure to consider the behind-the-scenes, less glamorous work that keeps your business going, too!

Personalize Recognition and Appreciation

Everyone has different preferences and ways of being recognized. Do you know what makes your employees feel most appreciated at work? Now is a good time to find out. 

It’s common to project your own preferences for recognition and appreciation on your team. But, not everyone is the same. For example, some people enjoy public praise - whether that be in front of their team or the entire company. For others, this can be embarrassing or unsettling and they might prefer a private conversation or casual announcement. 

How do you find out what your employees' preferences are? Ask them! The key to thoughtful recognition and appreciation is knowing the individual being recognized. Considering tailoring recognition and appreciation around employees’ workplace love languages

Pro tip: Be specific and relevant! Recognition is more powerful when tied to a specific accomplishment or event. Explaining what employees are being recognized for helps people connect recognition and appreciation to a behavior, which encourages that behavior down the line.  

Connect Recognition to Company Goals

Recognition and appreciation show employees that their company values them. But, it can also show an employee how their hard work and dedication are connected to the success of the company. 

It can be helpful to regularly share company news and achievements with your employees. This information can show how the company is striving to accomplish its goal and greater mission, while also explaining how each of your employees is connected to the company vision. 

Pro tip: Don’t wait! Share feedback and appreciation in a timely manner. You don’t have to wait for big events or formalized reviews to share employee feedback and appreciation. Recognition should be given promptly so employees can connect the appreciation to a specific behavior. 

Prioritize Employee Experiences with Verified First

In today’s war for talent, fostering a culture of recognition and appreciation is more than just a nice to have - it's imperative for attracting and retaining qualified talent. As discussed, employee appreciation not only boosts engagement and motivation but also strengthens productivity and loyalty. 

As a background screening organization, we understand the value of recognizing our team’s hard work. Just as we ensure the integrity and reliability of our clients’ workforce, we equally prioritize practicing what we preach. We help organizations of all kinds create some of the most effective teams by taking extra care of our own employees and making sure they love where they work. 

Interested in working with Verified First? Learn more here or get started now!

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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