Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The Covid pandemic has challenged all of us in ways we couldn’t imagine. Employees have had to change how work is done, how teams interact, and how they communicate in a virtual environment.
Most employees have had to step up to the plate and get things done through these uncertain times.
Recognize Employee Efforts
One of the important keys to creating a culture of engaged employees is being deliberate with recognition.
Employees come to work and want to do a good job – but like to be recognized for their efforts.
This recognition should be an integral part of how we communicate with our employees.
The process of recognition begins with setting the expectations for employee behavior, followed by coaching for good performance, and lastly, by recognizing and rewarding a job well done.
It is interesting, but if you ask employees, they can tell you who the slackers are.
However, productive employees want to be recognized for performing at a higher level than their counterparts.
Not many things are as discouraging to an employee as working diligently to complete goals and improve the customer experience – and not being acknowledged for their efforts.
Sometimes, a simple thank you is enough to let the employee know their efforts are recognized.
Employees stay with organizations that show appreciation for their efforts.
Neglect your top performers, and they will find an organization that values what they contribute.
8 Ways to Recognize Your Top Performers
1. Simple Thank You
Even though employees are paid for what they do, a simple thank you can go a long way.
Some managers think that recognition needs to be formal.
Employees appreciate small things, and the simple verbal thank you for a job well done communicates that their efforts are recognized and appreciated.
For instance, let’s say you asked the receptionist to stuff hundreds of envelopes for a mass mailing. Let her know you appreciate her efforts by simply saying thank you for getting the job done!
2. Written Note
We have all experienced those times when it’s all hands on deck to get the job done. And it is common for those stressful crunch times to go unnoticed.
Keep a stack of note cards in your office and write a personal note to an employee who has gone above and beyond.
Take the time to drop a note to your employee, and they will appreciate it more than you know.
The note can be simple and to the point.
Thank you for all you did to help us get the Foster project completed and on time. Your commitment to the job encourages me as a manager. Your gift for organization is what helps us beat the competition. Thanks again for all you do to help us succeed!
3. Public Acknowledgement
Public acknowledgment is a statement of support to employees. Use public forums to recognize employee efforts.
Use the weekly or monthly staff meetings to highlight an employee who just completed a major project or landed that big contract.
Use this special time to acknowledge hard work, commitment to a project, and team efforts!
A few words of thanks in front of Piers fans the flame of motivation – and that is the goal!
4. Extend Gratitude To Family
Young employees often have families and very real commitments outside of work.
It is often the employee’s family that pays the price of those busy times of the year.
If you know the employee’s family, drop them a note and thank them for allowing you to use their family member’s gifts and talents.
The goal is to send the message that their sacrifice does not go unnoticed.
5. Provide Educational Opportunities
Top performers typically have an interest in learning and understand the costs associated with increasing skills.
Recognize employees by allowing them to take continuing education courses or attend conferences that will enhance their skills.
For instance, if you have a secretary who performs at a high level, allow him/her to attend conferences that will reinforce strong administrative skills.
6. Offer Increased Responsibility
Employees who wish to climb the ladder recognize experience is key.
Use delegation of responsibilities as a reward for top performers.
Delegate responsibility for a sought-after project to those who perform well.
This does a couple of things.
First, it tells the employee that you recognize their efforts.
Second, delegating additional responsibility can also be a step in the succession planning and development process.
7. Offer A Flexible Work Schedule
Life is busy for all of us. But particularly for those employees who are trying to balance a young family and work responsibilities.
Flexible work schedules are something that every employee wants.
For instance, a common model of a flexible schedule is allowing employees to choose their work hours within a window of time.
In this model, employees are allowed to create their own schedule by arriving to work between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and ending the workday between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The employees choose the times that work for their personal commitments.
Unfortunately, not every employee has the discipline to self-manage, so recognize good performers by allowing flexibility in their schedule.
8. Above Average Merit Increase
At the end of the day, it is about the money, and employees appreciate it when you show them the money.
Top performers should receive higher-than-average pay increases to recognize their efforts.
The days of across-the-board raises are going away, and individual efforts need to be recognized and rewarded.
For instance, create a process that provides a larger merit increase to employees who score highest on performance appraisals.
Employees invest a lot of time in their jobs. It is up to leadership to help them understand expectations, provide feedback in meeting those expectations, and recognize a job well done.
Do you have any creative ways you recognize your top performers?