A lot of effort is made to tell bosses how to create effective employee recognition programs. But we must also tell employees how to speak up and tell their bosses the kinds of recognition they are hoping for.
Managers want to know: what works, how they can make you feel valuable, and what that looks like in reality. Supervisors already know that employee appreciation is crucial, but when it comes to how to enact policies you as employees want, sometimes they're in the dark. Here are the seven things that your bosses want to know.
1. Should recognition be public or private?
Would employees rather their names are shouted from the rooftops — or are kept private as employees find out they are being rewarded during a quiet meeting with only the boss. There’s a big difference between putting a rewarded employee’s photo on the conference room wall and never mentioning it to anyone but superiors, and there’s a lot of gray area in between.
2. Do you want to be rewarded in person?
Should those awarded with recognition be told in person or via email? And from there, does "in person" mean during a team meeting or a private conference? What way would make employees more comfortable?
3. How often should employees be recognized?
Weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly — what should the timeline for employee recognition look like? On one hand, you might not want to wait until November to reward an employee for a project they did in May; but on the other hand, having too many award ceremonies could dilute their meaning.
4. What types of reward behavior are most meaningful?
Awards for sticking around the longest may not hit an employee’s heart as much as being recognized for top-notch work on a project, showing innovation, or helping coworkers. Tell your manager what kinds of employee behavior are the most meaningful to you. Tell your manager the kinds of behavior you’d appreciate being recognized for.
5. Should the reward be money?
Would you, as employees, rather a straight monetary reward or a gift? What kind of gift? Would you prefer gift cards or a brand-new desk chair, paid breakfast and lunch for a week, or something else?
6. Would you rather a physical gift or time?
Many companies these day are recognizing employee achievement by offering a day off work, a long weekend, or shortened hours for a week. Is that something that would motivate you?
7. How should your manager be showing thanks every day?
Employee recognition programs are one thing, but what are some tips for your manager to show you every day that they appreciate your hard work? Let them know if a simple thank-you is enough.
Effective employee recognition programs are tied to employee retention, happiness, and productivity. But the program can’t be effective unless all employees speak up to tell supervisors what works and what doesn’t. Remember, managers win, too, when you get what you’re hoping for.