Top 10 ways employees want to be recognized

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Employees are working harder than ever as they try to navigate the so-called “new normal” that has morphed out of the coronavirus pandemic. As employees juggle working from home with their responsibilities outside of work, it’s more important than ever that employers continue to recognize the effort their workers are putting in.

“Your employees are going to remember how you're treating them during this difficult situation that we all find ourselves in,” Rob Schmitter, principal solutions architect at Workhuman, said during the virtual 2020 WorldatWork conference.

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Employees reap the benefits of greater recognition efforts throughout the year. Research from Workhuman shows that seven to 10 recognition moments throughout the year will result in employees being two times less likely to leave the organization.

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“Think of it as a micro bonus if you don't want to call it recognition. It's the idea that we're going to look for more opportunities to leverage our bonus pool to drive a higher level of connection,” Schmitter says.

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A solid workforce is the backbone to any employer’s profitability, reputation and future. As competition for top talent becomes increasingly fierce, employee retention can become increasingly difficult. These tips from O.C. Tanner, a company that designs and helps implement global employee rewards and recognition solutions, details some simple steps employers can take to show workers the kind of appreciation they want to see.

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Peer recognition
It doesn’t always have to come from the boss. Support and recognition from colleagues and friends can be just as important at motivating employees. Employers need to look at creating a culture of open communication and peer-to-peer recognition.
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Team appreciation
As much as employees like to hear positive individual feedback, it’s rare that everything was done by a sole individual. Celebrate the team’s accomplishment — perhaps treat them all to a brunch or lunch date.
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Trips
When it comes time to celebrate the power players, employers might want to look at some of the top industry perks. Spa getaways and family weekend trips have become an increasingly common way to recognize and appreciate a star’s great work, O.C. Tanner notes.
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Social badges
Some of the best programs can be the easiest to implement. There are number of social tools available that employers are using to promote eCard and eButtons that help spread enthusiasm and crate a strong culture of trust.
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Wall of recognition
Another way to help support peer recognitions is to implement a wildly growing popular trend of recognition walls — where employees can display their appreciation to coworkers — which, in turn, will motivate even more future appreciation moments.
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Gift list
What better way to show employees you care than to coordinate employee wish lists of things they’d want and would inspire them to work harder?
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Instant feedback
One thing a lot of employers miss is the opportunity to give instant feedback. Providing on-the-spot recognition helps give employees that extra boost of confidence. Sincerity and timeliness will be well appreciated by workers.
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Appreciation events
Holiday parties, cookouts, social outings, game night and other gatherings are key ways to communicate employee appreciation, O.C. Tanner says. Employers should plan several celebrations throughout the year to help keep employee appreciation consistent.
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Time off
Following the completion of a major project or event, a successful move for employers could be to give a bit of extra time off. The little bit of extra R&R shows your appreciation and is something employees want at the end of the day.
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Career celebrations
Employees want to be recognized for their loyalty and hard work within an organization — so much so, that employees stay an average of two years longer at companies that have service award programs, O.C. Tanner notes. So celebrate anniversaries at fun events like company meetings or parties; who doesn’t love a slice of cake?
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