5 employee rewards and recognition ideas from RiseSmart.

Regardless of what stage of their career lifecycle in which they may currently be, one universal truth about your employees is that they all want to know their hard work is appreciated. However, some managers believe the only thing their employees need to feel valued is a paycheck. This just isn’t true. Giving hard-working employees recognition for their effort and rewarding them for their achievements can result in increased productivity and an emboldened workforce.

Here are five great ways to reward and recognize your hard working employees:

1. Praise

The most overt way of rewarding employees is by praising them for the work they’ve done. Meaningful praise shows your employees that you really care about them. However, you want to avoid using generic emails or cards because they can cheapen the gesture and make them feel as though it’s an obligation rather than proper recognition.

Instead, give them a handwritten note or pull them aside for a private conversation to let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. This can create ongoing dialogue about their performance while keeping them headed in the proper direction.

2. Awards

A paycheck isn’t always enough – sometimes employees need more incentive to go the extra mile for the company, and a paycheck is only enough for them to work according to the most basic levels of their job description.

By awarding your employees with gift cards, free lunches, tickets to sporting events, or other prizes, you’re giving them something distinguishable to work towards. This also encourages them to produce high-quality work in hopes of receiving a prize.

3. Flexibility

This is one of the best ways you can reward an employee who has gone above and beyond their duties. What managers sometimes forget, though, is that their employees make personal sacrifices in order to achieve this level of effort. They may have worked through lunch, stayed late, or arrived early.

When employees put in extra time to exceed your expectations, you can reward them by giving them time away from the office. If they’ve stayed late, why not let them come in an hour or two later the next day? Perhaps you could even give them a day off. An ideal work-life balance is extremely rewarding, and giving them time outside the office allows your employees to stay satisfied with their employment.

4. Visibility

It’s easy for the exceptional employees to become lost in the crowd, making them feel undervalued. Such feeling of discontent lowers their productivity and takes a toll on the quality of their work. Those who feel they’re doing excellent work for the company but not being recognized for it are likely to seek other job opportunities.

Create a work culture that showcases those employees who are doing an exceptional job through “Employee of the Month” programs, or by simply verbally recognizing them during the next office meeting. Recognizing employees as leaders amongst their peers makes them feel validated and frames them as a good example for their colleagues to follow.

5. Responsibility

Lastly, the amount of responsibility you give an employee should directly correlate with how capable you believe they are. Selecting certain employees to take the lead on important projects or giving them the ability to make judgment calls without oversight shows them that you believe they’re up to the challenge.

Ultimately, reward your hardest working employees by giving them more responsibility and a bump in pay to go with it. Giving them a raise in shows them that their hard work was worth it, and that by continuing to put in extra effort they can ascend through the company’s ranks.

Rewarding your employees for their extra efforts is essential for keeping them inspired to produce quality work, which is good for both them and the company as a whole.

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