Employee Recognition Ideas to Boost Motivation and Performance

Remember when stickers were exciting, and you loved getting that extra gold star on your school work? Though you may have outgrown your love for gold stars, you can still tap into the same principles behind those stickers and leverage the power of recognition to boost productivity in your small business.

The Value of Employee Recognition

Think of a business as a thriving ecosystem—particularly as one that’s made up of many interdependent moving parts. Different teams in business handle different tasks, and they’re all important in their own unique way.

To keep the ecosystem in its best state, every part of it must be in its healthiest and happiest state. If your employees are unhappy or feel undervalued, then their work suffers and so does the entire business. Employee recognition, in its many forms, is a key way to keep employees happy.

Employee recognition reaps many benefits, including:

  • Increased loyalty to the company
  • A sense of ownership for one’s work
  • Enhanced engagement within the work community
  • Best of all: better business results

As a small business owner, fostering a positive work environment is vital. That sense of camaraderie and community is what sets small businesses apart from their larger and more corporate counterparts. Just one excluded or unappreciated employee can have detrimental effects on clients. Instead, creative incentives make sure your co-workers feel valued.

How to Validate Your Team Members

There are three core ways through which you, a small business owner, can recognize your employees: by publicizing achievements, focusing on the positive, and connecting team members to the bigger picture.

Publicize Achievements

At Hatchbuck, we do a great job of recognizing each other for our achievements.  And, what’s pretty amazing is that recognition doesn’t just come from the leadership team. Every team member feels empowered to give a shout-out to a fellow co-worker for a job well done, in a company meeting, for instance, or with a team-wide email.  These little moments of recognition keep everyone engaged in their work and in the success of Hatchbuck.  Our culture of recognition does more than motivate employees to earn praise, but it fosters an environment in which we all work hard not to let our team members – or our customers – down.

Everyone loves having his or her work recognized, especially when everyone else knows about it. This encourages a healthy sense of pride and gives other employees models to work from. At your next meeting or business-wide email, test it out and  congratulate an employee who’s provided exemplary work.  Who knows? These public notices may even help facilitate healthy competition that can drive your business forward.

Focus on the Positive

Employee recognition can also take place on the individual level. Focusing on the positive when you’re confronted with a situation in which an employee is struggling is to your benefit as well as theirs.

When talking with your employees about their job duties or expectations, highlight where they’re succeeding in addition to where they could use some help. Maybe they could use extra training or resources to perform at their peak. Maybe their role and daily tasks aren’t aligned.  Or maybe they are in the wrong role and would excel in a different position.  Instead of focusing on the negative and creating a situation where your employee becomes unengaged and fails, look at the positives and find a way to put their strengths to work.

At Hatchbuck, we’re always careful to hire people not only based on their skills, but based on their character and culture fit as well.  We have great people on our team, and if someone is struggling, we know we can help them succeed by making adjustments that help them lend their greatest strengths to the business.  Focusing on the positive is a win-win for your business and employees, but it starts with hiring the right people.

Connect to the Bigger Picture

When it comes to managing my team, determining our goals is an exercise we do together, not something I do in a silo. Then, I give my team members the autonomy and resources to do their job to the best of their ability to make our goals a reality.  When my team takes ownership of Hatchbuck’s success, we excel as a company.  My team members bring great ideas to the table everyday and have been instrumental in creating a customer experience Hatchbuck users love.

For smaller businesses and start-ups, every employee has an impact, from an intern to the CEO.  Remind your employees how they impact the business, and give them ownership of their projects and the direction of the business.  

Employee recognition pays off in huge dividends when it comes to customer service and the health of your business.  From my own experience, when our team members are motivated to be their best every day, our customers benefit.  In fact, Hatchbuck consistently receives the highest ratings for customer service in the marketing automation space from software review sites like G2Crowd and TrustRadius. Employee recognition doesn’t just give your team members the warm fuzzies, it impacts the overall success of your business.