How to Make Employee Recognition a Year-Round Affair

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Need some help with your employee recognition efforts? Here are a few ideas you may not have thought of. 

For some managers, employee recognition is an occasional thing. When events like Administrative Professionals Week (April 24-30) or staff service anniversaries roll around, the balloons, flowers and cards come out. It’s business as usual the other days of the year.

But staff appreciation shouldn’t be limited to these times. For it to have maximum effect, employee recognition can and should take place year-round. Done right, an effective employee recognition program can provide the following benefits:

  • Provides greater motivation to administrative staff members
  • Typically translates to better customer service and increased efficiency on the job due to higher employee engagement
  • Reinforces positive behavior
  • Helps employees feel more connected to the company rather than just someone who receives a regular paycheck
  • Lowers stress levels by allowing team members to focus on positive actions and behaviors

5 easy employee recognition tips

So how do you find the time to make staff appreciation part of your everyday routine? Here are some tips that can help you easily incorporate employee recognition into your daily activities so your administrative team receive the kudos they deserve all year round.

1. Award them

Nominate your administrative staff for internal accolades such as “employee of the month.” Many companies have these types of programs in place already. If yours does not, it’s easy to start one specific to your department. 

Consider ways to make the award public. A crystal plaque that the winner can display on her desk, a special seal added to her business card or an email to the entire team praising her accomplishments will make the award feel special and noteworthy. 

2. Encourage professional development

Administrative professionals value the opportunity to build new skills and abilities. So, when it comes to employee recognition, give them what they want. Send a team member who has gone above and beyond to a conference or pay for membership in an industry association.

If the whole team has been working hard, arrange for a guest speaking to conduct a training seminar customized to the group’s needs or wants. This type of employee recognition has the dual benefit of rewarding administrative staff for a job well done and helping them strengthen abilities that can benefit the firm.

Find out what skills your team can benefit from by downloading our infographic showing key traits of administrative professionals.

3. Give a little

Everyone appreciates tangible awards. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean your staff appreciation efforts have to break the bank to make an impact. Rewards such as a reserved parking spot near the front entrance or a gift card to the local coffee shop go a long way and cost relatively little.

Other low-cost employee recognition perks include the following:

  • The option to leave early one day or extra vacation time
  • Lunch or dinner at a local restaurant
  • Tickets to the movies or a sporting or cultural event
  • A gift card to an online retailer like Amazon
  • Flowers or chocolate (cliché, perhaps, but nonetheless appreciated by most)
  • A business book or title by the administrative staff member’s favorite author

Whatever you choose, be sure the recipient will truly appreciate it. You don’t have to spend a lot, but you do have to give the employee something meaningful. Staff will see through employee recognition that’s cosmetic.

Administrative professionals save managers almost three hours of time each day. Learn other cool facts about the administrative profession in the SlideShow below.

4. Consider monetary rewards

Few things have a bigger impact that extra pay. So provide spot bonuses, raises and other financial rewards if budgets allow. You may decide to save this type of employee recognition for only the most exceptional of achievements. Establish criteria that separate outstanding effort from other activities.

5. Get feedback

You may think your staff appreciation program is awesome. But does your team agree? If you can’t answer this question — or, worse, know that you and the group aren’t on the same page — your efforts won’t have the intended effect.

Touch base with administrative professionals regularly to ensure the employee recognition program remains well-known, easy to participate in and motivational. You don’t have to launch a formal survey; simply ask your direct reports during regular touch-base meetings to gauge the program’s effectiveness and solicit ideas for making it better.

Get more staff appreciation ideas by downloading our free tip sheet 20 Easy Ways to Rock at Employee Recognition.


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