According to 2020 statistics from smallbiztrends, a full third of employees say they are minimally committed to their jobs. Several factors can explain this decline in productivity, including the global Covid-19 crisis.
However, 2021 brings new opportunities to rekindle employee engagement and get businesses back on track. Appreciation is a powerful tool in this regard, as it can reward employees for their hard work and motivate others to do the same.
But traditional recognition means won’t work — they are dated, old fashioned, and too predictable. Instead, try out these 15 innovative ideas for recognizing hard workers in your organization.
Create a culture of recognition
An organization’s culture influences everything from productivity and results in how early employees resume work. But more importantly, culture sets a baseline for everything that employees do. Appreciation comes more naturally in a culture that’s inclined towards it. One way to build a recognition culture is to appreciate workers as often as possible. Every time a manager, team, or employee is recognized, it adds to the culture until it becomes the status quo. Repetition leads to adoption.
Public employee appreciation
A pat on the back behind closed doors is worlds apart from company-wide recognition. The latter announces that the company values its contribution, shining a bright spotlight on the worker. Besides the rush of positive emotions felt by the recognized employee, public appreciation can also motivate coworkers.
Opportunities to show appreciation exist in company events, monthly newsletters, a wall of fame, a space on the company website, or even small team meetings. The possibilities are endless.
Celebrate employee milestones
This is one of the few traditional practices that still work. Celebrating with employees on select dates like birthdays and anniversaries make them feel loved. It also facilitates bonding among peers and fosters a culture of kinship.
Ideas include baking a cake, throwing a small party, or gifting a luxury item. Letting employees pick their gifts is also a safe bet. That way, they get exactly what they desire.
According to statistics from Deloitte, 59% of employees prefer professional growth opportunities as a reward for performance. Providing support in this area can fundamentally impact employee productivity, teamwork, and overall work satisfaction. Great ideas include a promotion, offering more responsibility, and access to professional courses that improve skills. Programs that focus on topics like emotional intelligence can also be created to foster personal growth.
Employee recognition programs
Recognition programs make it easy to appreciate employees, both from a management level and peer to peer. One great peer to peer recognition platform is Lucky Carrot. It operates by a system that gives employees carrots. They are encouraged to reward coworkers based on metrics like teamwork, contributions, and others.
Recipients can then redeem the carrots for gift cards for services and fun activities. Lucky Carrot’s analytics also allows you to track employee contributions, a critical feature in today’s fast-paced workplace.
Seek valuable feedback
Initiatives like Lucky Carrot and personal growth programs are excellent and effective. But without feedback, you won’t know what works and what doesn’t. Workplace culture and employees vary, and it’s essential to learn which programs are most effective. Well-constructed surveys can be invaluable here. They gather employee thoughts and provide useful data for improving current initiatives. Administering the survey before launching an appreciation scheme can also facilitate a smoother launch.
Reward high performers with swag
Swag refers to useful items that are customized with the company’s logo. Swag is both a gift from the company and an opportunity for employees to show off their value. It also has the extra perk of advertising your brand to non-employees who encounter the items. Everyday items make for great swag; things like computer accessories, T-shirts, water bottles, backpacks, phone holders, and even sneakers.
Consider a traveling trophy
A moving trophy can be any item; a classic trophy or a fun and quirky object that’s part of an inside joke. The traveling trophy can also be a perk like a parking space. The idea is to create criteria for earning the trophy and pass it around after a time period.
Traveling trophies are great because everyone has the chance to earn them and feel special. You can also combine two recognition ideas in your organization by awarding the trophy at a team meeting.
Appreciate customers as well
Customers keep businesses running. Many organizations say they value their customers but often aren’t any actions to back it up. When customer appreciation is followed up with meaningful action, it can increase loyalty as well as give you insight into how to serve them better.
The next few points are great ideas that you can use to show your customers love and commitment. And because the practice isn’t widespread, you’ll be ahead of your competitors.
Custom thank you notes
With the age of the internet, thank you notes have given way to thank you emails and video calls. But their old-fashioned nature makes them more appreciated today. Mailing custom thank you notes to valuable customers is an excellent, unexpected, and refreshing way to show appreciation.
One step further would be to attach coupons, gift cards, and other mailable gifts. The benefit is that thank-you notes don’t need to contain poetic masterpieces; the execution is enough to send a message.
Host exclusive events
Exclusive events take customer appreciation to another level. This idea works best for businesses with a physical location and walk-in patronage. VIP events for customers in your area can be a dinner party or an invite-only sale.
It’s also a great idea to hold them around the same time every year. That way, your customers have something to look forward to, and they will strive to earn an invite.
Give back on behalf of the customers
Donating to your loyal customers’ favorite charity passes a multi-tiered message. On one level, you’re telling them that you are grateful for their support. On another level, you’re returning the favor of their continued patronage by giving back on their behalf.
A third message is that your business cares about the world, and you’re eager to do your part. Besides giving back to charity, you can also plant a tree or donate to homeless shelters.
Start referral programs
Referral programs give customers a slice of your business’ sales. Loyal customers are constantly referring to new people in a company. Creating a referral program can show them that you see their contributions and are more than willing to give rewards.
These programs can also help your business generate more leads, so they are a win-win. Online businesses can use affiliate networks to run the program or create their own system. Brick and mortar establishments can simply give customers punch cards.
Treat them specially
Great customer service is perhaps, one of the most effective ways to sustain patronage. To execute this, employees and managers need to work together. It involves knowing customers on a deep level, anticipating their needs, and listening to any objections or concerns they may have.
Many businesses already do this, but loyal customers deserve even more attention. After years of patronage, it’s natural to expect special treatment from your favorite company, and that’s something your business can provide.
Give them swag
We discussed swag items earlier, and they are not limited to employees alone. Gifting customers with branded items have even more of an advertisement-effect than giving them to employees. Combine two customer appreciation ideas by mailing the branded gifts with custom thank you notes.
Appreciation is critical for continued loyalty and dedication, both from employees and customers. These innovative ideas can help build the culture in your organization.