5 Easy Ways To Recognize Employees

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Today’s guest blog is from Travis Pearl, I met him on twitter and our relationship has grown from there professionally. Today he shares his thoughts and insights on how to proactively create a recognition culture in the organization. Read on!

We all know recognition is an important key in employee satisfaction, and recognition from peers is often just as valuable as recognition from a manager or executive.  Despite the evidence in favor of consistent and meaningful recognition at work, “More than 70% [of employees] don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer” – Forbes.   I’m sure most readers of HR Buddy already get the importance of recognition but ask why doesn’t more recognition happen in the workplace? Oftentimes, its as simple as not knowing what to say.

Here are Five Ways to Recognize Employees, use these as inspiration for letting your team or employees know how important they are to the organization and how much their contributions mean to you.

Recognition Reason #1) Cross Team Collaboration:

In today’s fast-paced workplace, its easy to miss those who are ‘crossing the aisle’ to connect departments in achieving company goals.  Account Managers: Did someone in your customer service department go above and beyond to keep a key client satisfied? Sales People: Did your marketing department go the extra mile in creating collateral to help you close a recent sale?  Human Resources: Did your office manager pull out all the stops at the last company party to “Wow” your employees and highlight the great culture you’ve been cultivating for years? Let them know.  Cross-team collaboration is what creates amazing results in organizations – think about who has ‘connected the dots’ in your company recently to create excellent results from cross-team collaboration.  Peer-recognition rocks and helps to build strong teams.

Recognition Reason #2) Recruiting Referrals:

Whether or not your company offers monetary referral bonuses for new hires, there are usually scores of other employees who referred a friend into your recruiting and HR department as a potential candidate for an open headcount.  Even if the candidate ultimately didn’t get the job – don’t forget to thank the person who made the referral. Employees referring their friends to work at your company is one of the highest compliments they can give to your organization – make sure they are recognized for it, even if the referral wasn’t the right fit for your organization at that time.

Recognition Reason #3) Coordinating Volunteer Events:

Employees love to feel they are part of a larger mission by contributing both to company goals and community improvement.  Most companies have some sort of volunteer initiatives in place to improve culture, strengthen teams and help out their local community.  Think back to your most recent volunteer event and consider who organized it, who helped lead the project on-site and who coordinated the post-event get together?  Volunteer events are a powerful way to connect coworkers outside of the cubicle, make sure you recognize volunteer coordinators as key contributors in strengthening company culture and improving morale.

Recognition Reason #4) Lead Generation:

Marketing and Sales teams are often credited with finding and attracting new customers, but today’s professional social networks such as LinkedIn mean employees throughout the organization can now help make that warm intro to the next big client.  Look at your coworkers’ connections on LinkedIn, ask for an intro, then thank your colleague for making the connection.  Social networks are made to connect people in new ways and can be a great way to build credibility and rapport with new clients.  Make sure you give recognition to your colleague after the intro so they are more inclined to keep an eye out for new leads in the future as well.  Everyone wants to feel like they are helping the company succeed and personal referrals to key clients are a great way for everyone to chip in on sales success.

Recognition Reason #5) Employee Mentorship:

Executives, Human Resources Professionals and Managers throughout the organization are always trying to groom employees for the next stage of their careers.  A new generation of 80 million Millennials represent significant potential.  That grooming process is often accelerated by employees having a mentor in the organization; someone in the organization who has been in their position in the past and can help them move up.  Has someone in your organization been a consistent mentor in growing employees professionally and helping create the next generation of leaders in your company? Being an effective mentor is difficult, it often means taking time out of their schedule to help others without getting anything in return.  Sometimes it means giving up time with their family to spend a little extra time at the office helping a colleague learn a new skill.  Make sure they know how appreciated they are for their extra efforts and let them know they are a key player in creating the next generation of leaders in your organization.

Are you inspired and ready to recognize?

Employee recognition should be simple – the act is what matters, not the medium.  Send  an email, write a short hand-written note or thank them online.  The most important thing? Make it part of your ongoing habit, build it into your workflow as something you do regularly.  If you’re an individual contributor at your company – try to recognize a new colleague monthly to show how much they mean to you.  If you’re a manager, you should be recognizing someone on your team (or who has helped your team) once a week.  If you’re an executive – your job is to motivate, inspire and drive employee engagement – spend a few minutes each day thinking about who has chipped in to move your company or department forward and let them know how much they mean to you and how their efforts connect to the company’s mission and core values.

Travis Pearl is the co-founder of the social and peer recognition service MeritShare.  He has worked in management, product, and engineering at WhitePages.com, Tippr, Active Voice, and Microsoft.  He attended The University of Washington and Northern Arizona University.  He is fluent in Ruby on Rails, Linux, and SQL.  He also founded the domain monetization service Avidify. You can find more of his articles on leadership, employee engagement, and recognition at the MeritShare blog and on Twitter at @travispearl

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