4 Ways to Prioritize Employee Recognition All Year Long

By Robert Half on November 23, 2022 at 1:00pm

Expressing gratitude to your employees is always a good practice, and shouldn’t be reserved only for special times of the year, like around the Thanksgiving holiday. Prioritizing employee recognition all year long helps to boost morale, which can positively impact your retention efforts.

Also, with workplaces continuing to evolve after all the change and disruption of the past few years, it’s especially important to remind your team members that their continued dedication, flexibility and adaptability are highly valued.

Following are four simple but effective tips to help ensure you’re making employee recognition an ongoing priority all year long, and helping your team members feel more confident that they’re truly appreciated:

1. Look back … and then pay it forward

Over the years you spent working up to your current leadership position, you no doubt reported to several different managers. Chances are you remember one or two of them specifically because their staff management tactics told you without any doubt that they were grateful for you and your work.

Maybe those managers spent an extra few minutes talking with you every week, or always took the time to listen to your concerns? Perhaps they always made the point to thank you by picking up the phone instead of sending an email? Maybe they organized a party when you celebrated a milestone birthday?

Whatever it was, you remember them for it. Think about the things that your favorite managers from the past did to recognize you and make you feel great. Then, start (or continue) doing those same things for your employees.

2. Think inside — and outside — the wallet

A common reason good employees feel underappreciated and end up quitting their jobs is inadequate compensation. So, be sure to consult resources like Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide to confirm that the salaries you are paying your employees are in line with current market trends.

However, don’t assume that offering a higher salary or a bonus is the best or only form of employee recognition. Consider balancing monetary rewards with other perks and benefits.

Our Salary Guide provides insight into what employees are looking for on both fronts. For example, 59% of workers surveyed by Robert Half said their top perk is a flexible work schedule. And nearly half (48%) said they want remote work options most. As for benefits, paid time off ranks just behind the number one benefit, health insurance.

Also, keep in mind that many employees today seek meaningful professional development opportunities, and would likely welcome upskilling or reskilling opportunities.

3. Broadcast your appreciation

What’s even better than making the point to tell your employees that you appreciate their work? Shouting it out to your entire team or even the whole organization.

The positive effects of employee recognition can multiply exponentially when you praise individuals on the bigger stage. Consider sending staff-wide congratulatory emails, mentioning top performers in the company newsletter and holding meetings where you tell employees, one by one, exactly what they’re doing well and how their efforts are making a difference at the company.

4. Put a stamp on it

Why not write and send thank-you notes to your employees? This personalized approach can be an effective way to express gratitude, especially if you write notes by hand and tailor your messages to each employee’s achievements and efforts.

In a world of email and video calls, getting real mail in a real mailbox will be a pleasant surprise. And the employees who receive these thank-you notes are more likely to remember you for years to come as a thoughtful boss who sincerely valued your employees’ contributions.

By applying these simple but effective employee recognition strategies, you’ll keep your team’s morale, engagement and productivity running high. Ongoing employee recognition efforts will improve staff retention, too. Also, you’ll help your organization stand out as an employer of choice in a hiring market where in-demand talent doesn’t have to wait long to identify their next new work opportunity.

Want more tips?

The above strategies can help you stay focused on employee recognition not only around year-end holidays like Thanksgiving, but all year long. Subscribe to the Robert Half newsletter to get more great ideas on staff management and other topics, delivered straight to your inbox.

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