7 Ways to Motivate Your Employees Through Recognition and Rewards

by Michael Altieri, Shared Services Specialist, ACA Talent

Since the days of company watches and engraved plaques, employee recognition programs have come a long way. Today, about 87% of companies offer some form of employee recognition because the benefits to employee morale and overall company culture can be overwhelmingly positive.

Forbes Magazine conducted research in June on employee recognition. Of the companies surveyed, those in the top 20% for “building ‘recognition-rich cultures’” had lower voluntary turnover rates. In other words, companies that offered rewards beyond compensation and benefits, saw good employees sticking around longer.

It’s clear that by lowering turnover, companies not only have the opportunity to build a culture of longevity, but also save money on costly recruitment activities while maintaining a solid revenue flow from long-term employees. Because they aren’t constantly trying to ramp up sales from back-filled positions, these organizations are able to defend their revenue streams and market shares from eager competitors. In many cases, a bit of thanks can go a long way.

Here are a few ways companies can spice up their recognition programs and motivate their employees at the same time.

1. Rewards you can take to the bank: According to World at Work, cash is the second most popular form of recognition, and for a good reason. In this economy, everyone can do with a bit more green. Who doesn’t enjoy a cheaper trip to the gas pump?

2. Food for thought: While some may say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, many companies looking to thank employees and reward a job well done believe otherwise. At  ACA Talent, we regularly cater meals to celebrate wins, like achieving quarterly goals or celebrating the successful completion of a project.

3. Say it out loud: Awards and plaques are still one of the most popular ways to celebrate employee achievements, and it’s no secret why: public recognition goes a long way in celebrating overall performance and hard work. Some of the more popular methods include annual award presentations, Employee of the Month photos, preferred parking, or company-wide emails announcing an achievement, like a promotion.

4. Peer-to-peer recognition: One of the newest trends in employee rewards, peer-to-peer recognition can help inspire workforces by providing public validation for accomplishments, enriching corporate culture, and fostering collaboration . Thank you notes, traveling trophies, and token rewards (redeemable for cash) are just some of the creative ways companies are building their peer-to-peer recognition programs.

5. Take the day off: Another creative way to reward performance is paid time off. In addition to any current vacation time, you may choose to top off your employee’s balance with some extra time off for a job well done. We’ve tried this at ACA Talent with much success. Employees appreciate some extra time to relax after completing an especially grueling project.

6. Major events: Another way to foster a culture of inclusion is by recognizing major family events, such as birthdays, weddings, or anniversaries. Whether you gather everyone to celebrate with cake, send out a signed card, or an email, this is a fun way to allow employees to share their good news with the team and build a sense of community.

7. Give thanks: The easiest way to show recognition, and one of the most effective, is just by saying, “thank you,” whether in an email, on a hand-written note, or in person. Sometimes this is all it takes to motivate someone, whether a peer or an employee, to continue excelling.

If you don’t have a recognition program in place or if you’re simply looking to beef up your current offerings, this list is a good place to start. Whether you are recognizing someone’s tenure or performance, don’t be afraid to build a bold and sincere rewards program. With buy-in across the organization, the impact to morale and productivity can make a huge difference to your company overall.

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