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How to Boost Your Employee Recognition Program and Attract Top Talent

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employee of the month

Recognizing your employees for their efforts can motivate, engage and inspire them. Giving kudos is a powerful tool. And not giving recognition or doing it ineffectively can have an adverse effect.

Your employees probably aren’t looking for anything outlandish; they just want to be acknowledged for their hard work. And that will go a long way. (Click here to Tweet this thought.)

As a leader, make it a regular practice to provide recognition to your team. Recognition may not always involve positive reinforcement. But it always serves a purpose. Many benefits come from effectively displaying recognition.

It’s a matter of changing the way you recognize your employees — not with a repetitive “thank you” and “good job” — and the goal you have for that recognition.

Recognizing employees is about taking the time and effort to see what they’re doing well and vocalizing that to them. It’s about being timely in your feedback, as well as relevant, detailed and fair. More importantly, you should be adding value back to your employees.

Are you helping them reset their expectations? Are you showing them what makes them valuable to your organization? Are you helping them become a better version of themselves? If recognition can inspire them to continually find opportunities to self-teach — by learning and progressively developing themselves — that makes recognition worth giving.

Recognition has many benefits, both for individuals and the organization. Below are some highlights:

1. Engagement

Showing your employees their value while giving them goals to pursue will increase engagement. This feedback gives employees personal purpose and accountability, making their work meaningful. An engaged employee is more productive and loyal; they become an ambassador for the company.

2. Retention

If another company’s recruiter contacted your employee about a job opening, what do you think your employee would say? Recognition increases the chances of employees being loyal when it’s time to make a pro and con list for leaving or staying.

Recognition can add items like this to the pro side of the list: My leader values me. My leader takes time to develop me. My leader sees my hard work and trusts me with new tasks and projects.

3. Productivity

Motivation and engagement are the driving forces behind productivity. Recognition can fuel this fire. Getting your employees excited about what they’re doing by showing them that what they produce matters will ensure they continue operating at a high level. It’ll cause them to work harder to reap the advantages that go along with that.

4. Development

Recognition may not always be about the good. How are you helping your employees by not telling them what needs work? For the best results, take the time to talk to your employees about what they’re doing well and point out where they can improve.

Without suggestions of how to keep growing, your employees might not feel motivated to keep learning. And developing an employee can be a leader’s proudest accomplishment. There’s nothing better than watching your employees get promoted because of the skills you urged them to learn.

For your employees to gain something from the recognition, understand what form of acknowledgment they value. Some organizations think monetary incentives are the only way to recognize employees for their efforts. But is signing a bonus check making the most of the opportunity to motivate, engage and inspire?

You should gather insights about your employees as individuals and professionals through casual conversation and one-on-one meetings. Continuing to develop these relationships allows you to pinpoint how your team values recognition. For some, recognition through shout-outs on company newsletters, team calls or social media lights them up.

Others get excited about incentive trips or a visit to headquarters. Some would rather be recognized by being able to work on different projects or with special committees that permit them to utilize skills otherwise untapped in their current role.

Genuine, constructive recognition will not only help define your company culture — it’ll allow you to attract, retain and develop top talent.

Kim Pope is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for WilsonHCG, a top global recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and human capital consulting provider. Connect with her on Twitter @KimPope and on LinkedIn.

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