Staff Appreciation Ideas: Getting Serious About Your Employee Recognition Programs

Think of a friend. Now imagine that your friend only really expressed gratitude for you and your relationship once a year. Sure, he or she got you a nice gift or turned your birthday party into a Hollywood production, but then left you alone the rest of the year.

Then imagine that the cycle was reversed and that friend consistently expressed gratitude but always forgot your birthday.

Both scenarios would bring frustration and concern about the quality of the relationship. You’d probably wonder about how important you really were to your friend. You’d probably grow apathetic about the friendship or start seeking new friends. But what does this have to do with staff appreciation ideas? Unfortunately, this above scenario repeats itself in too many employer/employee relationships. Recognition is not given when earned or often enough and, regrettably, it can damage relations.

Recognition Professionals International identified three types of employee recognition categories:

  1. Formal Recognition. This includes regularly scheduled recognition awards such as length-of-service awards, employee-of-the-year awards and sales awards.
  2. Informal Recognition. This includes lunch rewards for project completion and other more localized, spontaneous events.
  3.  Day-to-Day Recognition. This includes on-the-spot praise, thank-you cards (include link), etc.

When devising employee recognition programs, it’s important to note that all three categories are important and to be used together in a comprehensive recognition plan. When developing your staff appreciation ideas (we have examples below), Each category reinforces certain employee behaviors. Leave one out and you run the risk of demotivating employees. Implement all three with sincerity, excitement and commitment and you are bound to reap the benefits.

Finally, a recognition program, if it’s to get the best results, needs to become a business priority with the same importance, planning, implementation and accountability as a sales program, accounting function or any other that’s vital to your business. To get going, utilize our free Recognition Resource Center with an action plan, tracking form, articles, checklists, staff appreciation ideas, and more.

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