We have the secret weapon in reducing employee turnover, therefore increasing company profits. It doesn’t require a multi-million-pound budget, no huge time-investment. But it does require a paradigm shift in culture for most businesses. and it begins with pure and simple recognition.

Multiple employee exit interview reports have found that 50% of employees leaving their present role would have stayed if they were tangibly recognised. We can all relate to; most recognition = appreciation = being told you are doing a good job. Strip back all the differences that we as the human race have, all the different styles and cultural differences, all those learned behaviours and pre-set ideas and deep down, one of the root values you will find in almost everyone is the desire to do good. Be that to do a good job, to be a good son/ daughter/ husband/ wife/ friend/ leader/ employee/ team member and so the list goes on. We are all linked by a fundamental desire to please.

Being a fickle bunch, the flip-side to our deep-set desire to please is that when we are not recognised for doing a good job, we will dig our heels in. 40% of employees, when surveyed, said that when they do not feel meaningfully recognised, will not go above their formal responsibilities to get the job done.

How Happy Are Your Team?

It is thought that only 10% of the population looks forward to going to work every day. Of course, that means that 90% do not! For every 100 people that you pass on your daily commute, only 10 of them are actually looking forward to the activities that fill their work-day. Even taking it down a notch or two, only 19% of people report that they are satisfied with their job. This same survey report, from Badgeville, reassuringly, found that seventy-one percent of employees didn’t think that salary increases or monetary rewards were the answer to employee engagement. Instead, they stated that the most meaningful recognition had no monetary value.

So, what are the best employee recognition ideas? We have scoured the internet for reviews and reports, spoken to HR specialists and leadership gurus and compiled this list of fantastic employee recognition ideas for you to choose to engage.

  1. Celebrate Birthdays!

As we get older, birthdays start to become more and more invisible- unless it’s a notable milestone. But a birthday is a day when the opportunity for recognition, to make that one team member feel super special is freely available. Engage one of the team who loves baking to be the cake-maker, give them a £5 budget for the ingredients and get together a box of decorations, decorate their desk and for every team member, make their birthday really special. Recruitment specialists, Vanilla Recruitment, celebrate every single birthday in this way, take to social media with photos and really go to town for each and every member of the team.

  1. Have a Trophy

In a team I was once part of, over 20 years ago, for a well-known pub chain, a 5kg tin of corned beef was our team trophy. The manager who was being recognised that month would have a big speech made about them at the monthly meeting, highlights of the month shared with the rest of the team and the can would be theirs to have in their office until the next monthly manager’s meeting. That tin of corned beef of recognition was adored! It doesn’t matter what the trophy is, as long as its presentation has meaning and sincerity.

  1. Go Public with you Recognition

That tin of corned beef could have had its own Instagram Page now, but social media was a crazy idea of the future 20 years ago! Old school ‘public’ meant a photo in head office. Nowadays, going public is in a whole new stratosphere! Take a photo of the person being recognised and send the photo out into the world. Engage every different social media platform possible, get the team to share across their networks, write a short article on LinkedIn to celebrate the achievements of the individual or the team, name them and praise them openly. Let your customers or clients know through your email newsletters or signage and let your staff member know how their actions are appreciated beyond your in-house communications.

  1. Write a Thank you Note

An actual note telling your team member how much you appreciate them goes a very long way in a world where text messages replace conversations and emojis replace words and emotions. As simple as a quick post-it, or a well-thought-out card will speak a million words. As a mentor for The Prince’s Trust, every year in December I receive a Christmas card from Prince Charles, a print of a watercolour landscape he has painted with a message of thanks inside. Every year that message of thanks signs me back up for another 12-months supporting the young people that his charity engages and supports to a positive outcome. Read our blog ‘Our 10 Best Thank Yous‘ for more ideas.

  1. Give a Real Choice and a Loud Voice

Appreciation must be built into your company culture for it to work and be worthwhile to your business. Allow your team members to choose from the projects available to work on. Of course, they can’t all get the one they want, but allowing some autonomy will build a culture of philanthropy that means that they won’t always choose first for themselves but take turns in the most sought-after projects. Offering an opportunity to be heard will speak volumes, but this does involve active listening. And action. It is all very well making an employee a birthday cake, but if they have repeatedly come to you with concerns that you have not addressed, the cake will leave a sour taste and the card, empty of emotion.

  1. Treats- without reason

Buy the team a pizza, or a bowl of fresh fruit, bring in alcohol-free beers to share at lunch or ice creams for all. Treat your staff once in a while in recognition that you appreciate them. Not because the calendar says you should on a specific day of the quarter.

  1. Be Creative

Food, time-off or a promotion are all great, but can soon become a bit predictable too. Think about how the culture of your business could be reflected in the reward. Milestone achievements could result in portraits going on the wall- or caricatures, or by letting the team member decide themselves how they would like to be depicted. Plenty of online apps, such as Wish 2 Be offer this service if an artist is out of the budget. You never know, there may be a budding artist in your team!

  1. Offer Continuous Professional Development.

Reward a drive for education and improvement by subsidising study costs, offering revision time before exams, being flexible for time off to engage with educational events and through promotion. Reward and recognise exam passes with promotions. Show them that they are appreciated so much that you want them to learn within their role.

  1. Point Something Out- as soon as you notice it

For the person who day-in-day-out is the member of the team that goes above and beyond, just saying that you have noticed will be enough. When you have a team member who naturally desires to do good work, especially in things that are outside of their job description, acknowledgement goes a very long way.

  1. Encourage Mentoring

Mentoring is an amazing two-way experience when managed effectively. Providing the employee with experience a place of authority and the pat on the back that shows that they do a great job, whilst engaging the newbie into a culture that is caring with an underlying foundation of security. Someday, managed correctly, that mentee will go on to be the mentor. And that mentor will be remembered forever. We all remember those few people who have had a fundamentally positive influence on our lives- a teacher at school, a line manager or colleague. Someone who guides and leads, nurtures and helps you be the very best that you can be. Being afforded that opportunity to be someone’s influencer is one of the highest forms of appreciation for a job well done.

  1. Recognition of Non-Work Achievements

Be it through charity work, a sporting achievement, an artistic award or assisting the community, help your team get excited about one another’s achievements whilst they are earning a living. Make it easy to volunteer and to help others and the community. Let your team member tell your clients what they are doing and ask for donations- not just with a monetary value. Allow time off to help with projects or flexibility for someone who wants to help. Offer to house a food bank collection or do something to raise money for a local charity. Showing your employees that what they find important is important to you too, is a sure way to improve their engagement and reward their efforts.

  1. Have Great Stuff

A good friend of mine creates the background environments for video games. He works in a decent sized team on small parts of huge, multi-million-pound games. There are literally hundreds of people who work on these games around the world. And every time a game is launched, they get great swag to say they were a part of what made that a success. Not just the team leaders. Everyone. When they join the company, they are given an empty glass trophy. For every game they work on, they receive a plaque to add to their own personal trophy with the name of the game and their job role in its creation. They get a T-Shirt- not a cheap tent-sized shirt, a well-fitting, specifically sized shirt. A bag or a hat or a water bottle or a keyring. Whatever it may be, it is really good quality.

Now that’s a company that really appreciates the input of every single piece of their jigsaw puzzle.

  1. Say THANK YOU.

It’s no coincidence that I end this piece on number 13. Whether you think your team hear it or don’t need to hear it, there is no luck involved in the output increases of a team who are genuinely and frequently appreciated against a team who is not. Of course, it is lovely to receive a gift at Christmas. Of course, we all appreciate finishing an hour early before Easter, but what will drive a much bigger increase in engagement? What will be remembered long after the Christmas fizz has been drunk? It’s a THANK YOU that is frequent, heartfelt and timely. And it’s free.

Be the leader who does what they say they will do when they say they will do it. Be the boss who remembers the small stuff. Be the manager who looks out for the welfare of the whole team, but above all, be the person they all remember because you say thank you and you recognise the effort, they are putting in.

We are here to HELP!

If you are considering a reward and recognition system or platform in your business and want to talk to us about how High Five Rewards can work for you, in the first instance, request a FREE DEMO and one of our team members will be in touch. High Five Rewards can be as big or as small as your budget allows. It doesn’t have to include huge cash rewards. You will be amazed at the results it will have on your business: increasing engagement, reducing employee turnover and improving team satisfaction. What have you got to lose?