Employee recognition helps keep talent engaged and motivated. Read more on why recognition matters and how to make your team feel appreciated.

As we move into 2023, companies are still feeling the ripple effects of COVID-19 and the Great Resignation. Voluntary turnover is expected to remain high, as workers vote with their feet when employers don’t meet their preferences and expectations.

However, not every employee jumps ship for better pay or working conditions. Sometimes, they simply don’t feel appreciated or valued where they are. Unlike a pandemic or soaring inflation, this is a challenge that every manager can tackle using formal or informal acts of recognition. Here’s our roundup of reasons to prioritize employee recognition, plus some tips for embedding it in your organizational culture.

1. it boosts morale

When employees feel seen and appreciated for what they do, they are more likely to feel good about coming to work. It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment that can be incredibly motivating. Recognition also helps build trust between management and employees, which is essential for a healthy working environment.

2. it increases engagement

Maintaining employee engagement is especially critical in the post-pandemic environment, where teams may be scattered, and colleagues may not interact on a daily basis. By recognizing the efforts of all workers, office-based, hybrid or remote, managers can foster a sense of community among dispersed teams.

3. it improves retention

High turnover costs firms dearly in terms of time, money and loss of institutional knowledge. If your employee recognition program reduces your churn rate, therefore, it will be a worthwhile investment. The more your employees know how much they — and their hard work — matter to you and the organization, the more likely they are to stick around.

how to recognize your employees

Starting an employee recognition program is easier than you might think. In fact, you’re probably doing some of these things already. Here are a few ways to make your employees feel appreciated.

hand out gifts

Money talks, of course, so spot bonuses are a great way to recognize your employees’ efforts. If your budget won’t stretch that far, get creative. Smaller things like employee care packages, gift cards and items for desks or workspaces can also make people feel appreciated.

celebrate milestones

Give out surprise bonuses when employees reach certain goals or milestones, such as completing a project ahead of schedule or exceeding sales targets by a certain percentage point each month/quarter/year.

encourage employees to recognize each other

Host a “Cheers from Peers” event where coworkers share stories about their colleagues’ successes and hard work.

create a wall of fame

Dedicate a wall in the office to recognizing employees who have gone above and beyond. This could include photos, certificates or other mementos that showcase their achievements.

personalize your rewards

Anyone can send gift cards to the whole team. It takes a thoughtful manager to buy game tickets for the office basketball fan and a gourmet gift basket for the resident foodie.

offer a shout-out

This is the easiest thing you can do. Give some kudos during a meeting or write a simple thank-you note. For noteworthy achievements or milestones, make recognition public by sharing feedback on social media or featuring team members’ stories on the company website.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to employee recognition. You’ll find plenty more tips for retaining and engaging top talent in our Business Insights section.