Research suggests that the majority of companies are doing something to recognize employees for their good work. Whether it’s an on-the-spot gift card or a monthly drawing for an employee of the month, companies are trying to step up to the plate and make some headway toward creating a culture of engagement and recognition.  But does it always work?

Most companies fall flat when they try to administer a “one size fits all” program that doesn’t consider the unique preferences and needs of their entire employee base.  When companies pay attention to the details, employees are far more appreciative of the sincere effort to keep them satisfied and engaged on the job.  Regardless of your budget, here are some options when thinking about recognizing your employees:

  1.  Say Thank You.  Recognize employees in a meaningful way by simply saying thank you. This method is inexpensive, and when done publicly  can create a ripple effect in your culture.  Don’t let a staff meeting or a weekly update go by without giving kudos to a star employee.
  2. Recognize with Rewards. People like stuff, and what better way to recognize their efforts than by giving them tickets to see a favorite team,  a gift card to a local hot spot, or a designer handbag they have been eyeing for months.
  3.  Give Them Time. Let’s face it. While your employees love the office, everyone needs time away.  By providing people with the opportunity to take extra PTO, you have allowed them a long weekend with their family that costs you very little but goes a long way to making them happy
  4.  Invest in Education. This option allows both the company and the employee to win big.  When someone continually excels, offer to send them to a conference to learn more or pay for a college class that sharpens new skills.  Better trained employees are great for business, and it allows your employees a faster track to success.

If you offer only one of these options to your employees, you won’t be able to satisfy everyone.  It takes a bigger effort on your part to listen to your employees and find out what they truly want.  Take the time to find out what motivates your people, and give it to them.  They’ll be thankful!