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The Alternative Board Blog

Let Employee Recognition Drive Your Culture

Jun. 4, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Employee Recognition

All businesses claim to value their employees and to be committed to a culture that recognizes and rewards employee achievements. But success in this effort may be elusive, particularly if employers only half-heartedly embrace an “employee-centric” culture.

By contrast, businesses that actively pursue this goal often find that they retain valued workers longer and that their recruiting efforts for new hires benefit from a culture of employee recognition.

Here are ways you can build your own culture of recognition and demonstrate how much you appreciate the efforts of your team members:

When singling out a valued employee, be specific.

A generalized recognition that lacks mention of a specific achievement usually falls flat with those it’s intended to impress most. Like everyone else, your employees will feel better about recognition for something they did that is unique and/or above the call of duty. When you detail why an employee is being recognized, it reinforces company objectives and encourages others to exceed at their jobs.

Provide ongoing feedback.

As TAB Member Dale Malcom has noted, providing feedback—both positive and constructive—is a key element of effective employee recognition. Malcom suggests managers organize a book with one page dedicated to each staff member.

Create three columns on each page, one for the month, one to document what the employee can do for the company, and one to document what the company can do for the employee. The monthly column focuses on employee goals and achievements, the second column on longer-term impacts the employee can have on the organization, and the final column centers around what the employee needs from the company to be successful.”

Want additional insight? Read 9 Tips for Motivating Your Employees now 


Meet monthly to discuss items on one or two of the lists. “Taking this approach, evaluations are quick with no surprises,” Malcom notes. “A legal record is created, ideas are discussed, problems are identified, corrections or actions are taken, and, unsurprisingly, improvement is the outcome.

Personalize employee rewards.

How best to reward employees for their accomplishments? According to Great Place to Work, research suggests “people are motivated by more than just cold hard cash.” Everyone has their own particular preference, so “consider customized gifts, taking [employees] out to dinner, or other acts that show employees their reward is personalized for them.”

Invite employees to nominate co-workers for recognition.

It’s not mandatory that only a manager or supervisor recognize employees for their contributions. As we have noted before, formal employee recognition programs contribute to a sense of community by emphasizing the benefits of hard work, creative problem-solving, and going above and beyond one’s job responsibilities. This is even more effective when you encourage employees to regularly nominate a co-worker for recognition and reward.

Don’t neglect your remote team members.

By now, many businesses employ remote workers and plan to continue doing so. You can boost your remote employee retention efforts by remembering to include them in your recognition and reward efforts.

On group video meetings with your team or in ongoing one-on-ones, “think ahead about something your employee did well and the impact it had on the team, then share with them in the meeting,” suggests Officevibe. You can also promote recognition by “naming people and their contribution” during all-staff or companywide virtual updates.

Interested in learning more about how employee recognition can fuel productivity and boost morale and retention? Check out our free TAB Boss Webinar, “Employee Motivation that Works.”

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by The Alternative Board