Meaningful Employee Recognition Programs That Don’t Cost a Thing

March 27, 2015

To combat my end-of-ski-season blues, I’ve been dreaming about a pair of expensive, tricked-out skis. They’ll help me float through any snow conditions, backwards or forwards, and are magenta, a huge selling point for me. So, should I spend more than a month’s rent on them? The jury’s still out. But when it comes to recognizing your people, do you need the latest and greatest flashy technology? I’d argue that there are plenty of ways to help your people shine without spending a dime. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. First, consider your culture. Like any initiative, think about what will resonate best with your people before designing a program. Ask questions and test a few ideas with a group of employees to see what works well and what falls flat.
  2. Often, the simplest things can mean the most. A short email from a manager or a personal thank you from a leader can be the most memorable recognition.
  3. Shout it out -- frequently. During our Brilliant Ink team meetings, we save time for shouts outs to our team members. It’s nothing formal or prepared – we speak up and tell a colleague that they’re awesome and why.
  4. Be specific. A blanket “good job” can feel fake. Say what it is that “wowed” you, even if it seems like a minor point. The person or team will appreciate it – and remember.
  5. Keep moving. We have a client who rotates their people annually through various special projects. It’s not what you’d think of as recognition in a traditional sense, but it helps keep people engaged and energized about their work. Isn’t that what rewarding work is all about?

Think back to the last time you felt recognized, appreciated and valued. When was it? How did the person accomplish it? Use that as your guide, and come talk to us more!

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