After his Doogie days, actor Neil Patrick Harris brought to life How I Met Your Mother’s womanizing Barney Stinson. And if there’s one thing Barney Stinson proved over nine seasons other than his love of women, it’s that he recognizes the power of a well-timed high-five. This momentary mano-a-mano recognizes in one swift movement pleasure with a job well done.

It’s these types of personal connections, research shows, that make all the difference for your employees. Remember it’s not the reward value that matters but the act of recognition itself that engages employees in the workplace and exponentially improves retention.

To jumpstart your journey to World’s Greatest Boss mug-level management status, YouEarnedIt tackled two hands’ worth of high-five-quality employee recognition gifts. And you know what that adds up to? A high-fifty.

1. The high-five that belongs outside the box: Reward your top performers with innovation. Within given parameters, let them decide where their next journey lies. Whether it’s a fresh white paper or developing a new product feature, their self-crafted assignments increase their sense of autonomy, which researchers at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business have linked to greater employee happiness and productivity.

2. The high-five that’s from your hand to theirs: It may seem outdated, but writing a thoughtful hand-written thank you card to your employees recognizing good work may be one of the most powerful means of recognition out there. A letter written by hand is much more personal than email and shows you took the time to sit down and think about their contributions to the team. Mail it to them at home for an added turn-of-the-century touch that reminds them you know they have a life outside of work.

3. The high-five that doesn’t leave them hanging: When you hear positive comments about people on your team, don’t hide them under a bushel. Convey these precious motivating mood enhancers as soon as possible and then watch your employees shine.

4. The high-five that ain’t shy: Whether it’s a banner of praise with your employee’s name on it or a company-wide memo of praise, everyone appreciates a little widespread nod of the head from the boss that shows she’s proud enough to shout your good graces from the rooftop—or at least the second floor conference room.

5. The high-five with its eyes on the prize: Reward stellar employees with a subscription to a magazine or journal relevant to your work, showing that you care about them and their continued improvement in your field. As a bonus, invite them to share with you and your team any particularly meaningful or significant articles they encounter.

6. The high-five sponsored by the breakfast (or lunch or dinner) club: Their hard work has earned them an off-site meal—on you! The catch? They need to invite a lunch buddy from another department they don’t know well. Sounds like the basis for a latter day John Hughes movie! B-U-E-L-L-E-R!

7. The high-five of celebrate good (work) times, come on!: Pizza, ice cream, cappuccino, Kinder Egg—the treat itself doesn’t matter. What does is you putting in the effort to recognize your all-stars. Give them the chance to pick their poison at the party you throw in appreciation of their A-plus work.

8. The high-five of smell-less team spirit: They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but why not give your star employees both? Pass around a framed staff or team picture and have coworkers write messages of appreciation to their honored peer, allowing an avenue for your entire team to mull over the positive traits they value in your group.

9. The high-five of an HR-approved hug—or kiss: No good act is too small. Start a policy of recognizing those great behaviors with a Hershey’s Kiss or Hug alongside a brief note of sweet celebration. Noticing those fleeting moments of exemplary everyday behavior shows your employees that you care—that you’re paying attention.

10. The high-five from up high: You might come to work in a monkey suit already, but why not try a real one on for size? Recognize a quarter of great team productivity with a performance worthy of going viral on YouTube. Schedule a company-wide workday break and then have management don wacky costumes and dance to the latest top 40 hit in appreciation of three months well done. Perennial hits include “We Are the Champions” and “U Can’t Touch This.”

Like what you see? Give us an internet high-five with your mouse to see our guide of 40 Out-of-the-Box Employee Reward Ideas:

40 Out Of The Box Employee Reward Ideas

And remember, YouEarnedIt allows you to create a custom catalog of these and hundreds of other gifts to recognize your employees and the wonderful work they do. Contact us today for a free demo of how the gifts you give your employees may be the best gift you’ve ever gotten for your company and yourself.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
John Schmidt
John Schmidt