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6 Employee Rewards and Recognition Ideas

Employee rewards and recognition is not something you should put on the back burner of your business. It’s important to show appreciation so your employees know you value them. When employees feel valued, they are likely to perform better, which helps your business grow.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 30 years. Before then, I was an employee myself. So, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to reward and recognize employees for great work. To learn what recognizing employees can do for your business and how to do it, read on.

Why recognizing employees is important

Remember getting praised in school for a job well done? Maybe you got hooked and worked to be the top of your class, a football star, or a musical prodigy. It was the perseverance and recognition that drove you.

Recognizing employees encourages them to continue working hard. And, it shows that you’re grateful they go above and beyond to see your business vision succeed.

When you recognize and reward your employees, you will have better luck at retaining them. If your employees are excited to come to work and proud of what they accomplish, they’ll keep coming.

6 Employee Rewards and Recognition Ideas

Employee recognition ideas

There are many ways you can recognize your employees so they feel valued. And, I’m not just talking about giving bonuses. Here are just some of the ways you can reward and recognize your employees’ hard work.

#1. Flexible opportunities

If you can offer them, flexible schedules are a good way to reward your employees. Employees love flexible work opportunities. In fact, a recent Gallup Poll found that 51% of employees would change their job to work somewhere that offered them flexible work hours.

Offer your employees the opportunity to work remotely if it’s possible. Not only is this a reward for them, but it can be a reward for you as well.

There have been a few valuable employees at my companies who needed to relocate. Instead of them having to quit, I offered them the chance to work remotely. They accepted, and I didn’t lose great workers.

Employees juggle their personal lives with their work schedules. Another way to show employees you appreciate their hard work is to let them work flexible hours.

For example, an employee might need to come in at nine one day and ten the next. As long as they get their hours in and it’s possible with your business, giving employees the chance to adjust their schedule is one way to reward them for their diligence. Or, you could let your employees switch shifts.

#2. Spotlight your employees

Another way to recognize your employees is to spotlight them. Spotlighting an employee’s accomplishment might encourage your other employees to work harder.

There are many ways to spotlight your employees. You can use your company website, social media outlets, or even a good old fashioned bulletin board in the office.

I like to show off my employees. I have TV’s and a monthly newsletter that highlight my employees when they perform well, have a birthday or life event, or celebrate an anniversary with my company. Spotlighting employees also fosters relationships among my employees, which in turn promotes teamwork.

Use your company’s website or social media accounts to spotlight your employees. For example, you could post a photo on your website or social media pages that features an employee who goes above and beyond.

#3. Generous time off

Employees can’t work constantly without some sort of break. Giving employees generous time off for vacations and sick days shows them that you care about their well-being. And, it rewards them for their productivity on the days they do work.

Not only does time off reward your employees, it also can rejuvenate them. They might come back to work with fresh ideas and motivation.

If you can afford it, give your employees paid time off. If not, offer them the opportunity to take unpaid days off. Time off is a win-win for you and employees — your employees get to take a break, and you might see spikes in productivity.

#4. Company parties

Company parties are a great reward for your employees. And, they help break up the daily grind. I like to have company parties throughout the year during work hours. That way, my employees don’t need to worry about coming back to my business location during the evening.

Company parties don’t need to break the bank. Order some pizzas or have everyone bring in a dish. Your employees will be excited to get a nice pause from work, and a company party lets employees get to know each other. Company bonding can lead to employees working together and collaborating better. I cannot stress the importance of teamwork in an organization enough.

#5. The power of “thank you”

Sometimes, saying “thank you” is enough to show an employee you value their time. When my employees go home at night, I like to say “thank you” to them to show my sincere appreciation for their hard work.

#6. Money

Of course, you can always reward your employees with a bonus payment like money or gift cards. If possible, bonuses are a good reward to give around the holidays. That way, you can show your appreciation for a great year of work.

I try hard to pay my employees well. Giving raises is another good way for me to show I appreciate my employees’ hard work. Even though raises are the most expensive recognition you could give, they’re important.

If you can afford it and your employees have earned it, give them raises. An employee doesn’t want to be paid their base salary after ten years with your business. Raises show employees that you appreciate the value they have added to your business.

One last word on rewards and recognition programs for employees

Employee rewards and recognition are an important part of showing your appreciation. Strike a balance when it comes to recognizing and rewarding your employees.

If you start recognizing and rewarding your employees at your small business, you might see a genuine spike in productivity. In my book, happy employees make for a successful company.

Are you already recognizing your employees? Share your best employee recognition ideas in the comments below!


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Mike Kappel is the president of Patriot Software, LLC., which develops online accounting and payroll software for small business owners. He has also founded four other successful small businesses, and he is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs find their way to success http://www.patriotsoftware.com/

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