Managers know the importance of employee recognition in maintaining the morale, productivity and continuity of staff. It is a critical component of staff management. When your team understands that their work is valued and appreciated, they are motivated to perform at higher levels.
What are some of the best ways to acknowledge your team members? The People Puzzle: Building and Retaining a Talented Accounting and Finance Team from Robert Half and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) offers five strategies — both common sense and creative.
1. Increase compensation
Research for The People Puzzle shows most accounting professionals prefer to be recognized for stellar performance with a salary increase. Higher compensation is a clear statement of value from the company. It also is the primary factor in employee retention.
Monitor salary levels using industry resources such as the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide to help plan for these increases. If offering a raise isn’t possible for your firm right now, consider a onetime bonus to recognize exemplary work on a particular project.
2. Help them ascend the ladder
Promotion to a more senior position can be an exciting reward, if the option is there and the employee is ready for their next career challenge. If not, single out the employee to be groomed for a leadership role, or connect them with other valuable professional development opportunities.
3. Tell everyone
Don’t underestimate the positive impact of well-placed public kudos. Recognizing your highest-performing accounting and finance professionals — at a corporate event, department meeting or in an all-company email, for example — will make them feel highly valued.
4. Offer them time
Sometimes the best reward is the gift of time. In The People Puzzle, the ability to work flexible hours was cited as one of the top three nonmonetary contributors to job satisfaction. For CPAs at small companies, it was the No. 1 factor.
Consider giving staff a few extra vacation days or allow them to telecommute a day or two each week. You also can let team members off of work early on occasion, particularly following busy periods and major projects. All of the above can help your team achieve better work-life balance.
5. Get creative
Besides money and time, there are many ways to let your employees know how much you appreciate their work. Many are easy to do and won’t break the bank, but are still meaningful.
For instance, you might send a top-performing employee a handwritten letter of appreciation, send a car to drive them to work for a day, or give them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant. There are endless possibilities, big and small, for showing your most valued team members the business would not be the same without them.
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Editor's note: This post was updated recently to reflect information from the 2018 Salary Guide.