How-to Recognize Your Company’s Employee of the Month

Remember the first time you worked really hard on something and your parent or your manager came up to you and said, “Thank you.” or “Nice Job!”? That act of respect and kindness went a long way at motivating you to do more and feel good. Keep that memory in mind when you’re wearing the manager name tag and your colleagues will pay you back with productivity and results exponentially.

But how do you recognize your employees who go above and beyond? Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of #1 bestselling Emotional Intelligence 2.0 tells the Huffington Post, “It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back.” He recommends that good managers try to find out what makes their employees feel good – it’s different for everyone. Sometimes it can be a promotion or new opportunity, for others it’s money, and for some it’s just public recognition. Fortunately, it’s easy to have a conversation – so walk down that hallway or hang out with your colleagues at the store front (when it’s not busy of course) and tell them how much you appreciate them, but also try to learn what they would appreciate by way of recognition.

If you’re company is too large to hold a conversation with each employee – no worries. Here are seven tried and true ways to say thank you (at a nominal cost) to the best of the best in your company who make your business rock:

1-Public Recognition – Whether your company is low-tech or high-tech, there are ways to say thank you to your top contributors and make sure their peers hear all about it. “Consider including a certificate or award to go with your thanks,” said EDCO.

2-Personalized Message – Send a thank you card or email OR if your company has the tools, use an R&R (Rewards and Recognition) system to send a thank you. That said, an actual card is always a nice touch.

3-Face time with you – Sometimes a little bit of time with the big boss goes a long way. This time will mean a great deal to him or her, but it may also help you learn about skills they have and can bring to the table that you’re not tapping into yet.

4-A small reward, bonus or gift – If your employees are making minimum wage – a small gift or small monetary reward can mean the world to them. It may enable him or her to treat his family out to dinner or the movies.

5-A prime parking spot or free ride to work for the day or week – This type of recognition can double-dip into the public recognition category; but can also be a great time saver if you have a large facility. Alternatively, think of how nice it is when you don’t have to drive to work and someone else does it for you. It’s a luxury few get to enjoy.

6-A free day off – While many people forgo their hard-earned time off, more and more people are trying to maximize their work-life balance. If you’ve got an equally busy personal life, wouldn’t it be nice if someone came up to you and said, “You know Joe, you’ve been working so hard, why don’t you take Friday off, paid.”

7-Paid time in training – Developing additional skills often happens on the job (~70% for adults). According to Dr. Lela Vandenberg, Senior Leadership and Professional Development Specialist at Michigan State University, “Adult learners are busy, practical, and learn by doing.” However, when they can “see the personal benefit of what they are learning, and how it satisfies a need they have…[such as leading] to professional growth”, classroom learning can be a great recognition tool. The employee will see you’re invested in their success as much as your own. Consider sharing the value of that investment with the colleague in a letter that they get a copy of. For example, pay for the employee to get certified in something that benefits your company and the colleague. The time out of the office or workplace is also highly valuable and motivating.

Some of the most successful companies just “get it”. They see that their colleagues are their most valuable resource. Yes of course, customers are a close second; but, if your customers see how great you treat your employees, they will be repeat customers. People like to be around others who are happy and positive. Happy employees make happy customers and can make your business a success – and all it takes, is saying Thank you!

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