When you’re trying to grow a startup, there are always lots of things on your mind and your to-do list. For instance, there are jobs related to areas like sales, marketing, finance, product development, accounting, customer service and more.
However, keep in mind that something you must continually pay attention to is the mental and emotional state of your workforce. You have to go about creating a positive, engaged culture in your office and try to ensure employees are loyal, happy, productive, committed and challenged enough to stay interested in their work.
To achieve this, and to increase your employee retention rate at the same time, it’s vital to find ways to make your staff members feel recognized, not just for the results they achieve but also for their efforts, initiative and commitment. Here are some employee recognition tips you can follow to let your team know they’re valued, week after week, year after year.
Celebrate the Wins
For starters, spend time celebrating the wins in your company. It’s important to make a fuss of both small and large successes, as this gives everyone a boost. A good way to go about this is to create an awards program. You might set up an Employee of the Month system or stick with something less structured, simply handing out a certificate, trophy or plaque award or something silly and funny (like a crazy hat for people to wear) to recognize staff members in front of their peers. This shows you really notice the effort people put in.
Some other ways to celebrate wins at work include going out for a meal together as a team, having a mini office party, setting up a company picnic or otherwise spending time together as a group where you recognize a job well done by your whole workforce or by a smaller team. These outings and occasions lift spirits and provide good bonding time for you with your employees and for team members with each other.
Next, keep in mind that a simple yet effective way to recognize your team members, and something that doesn’t have to cost you a penny, is thanking people. Not enough managers take the time to do this because they don’t realize just how much of an impact it can have. Taking the time to individually thank workers for their efforts and commitment shows people they’re noticed and appreciated.
When thanking your staff members, be sure to use straight-to-the-point, honest, heartfelt and genuine words. Wherever possible, say these things in person, as this enables you to look people in the eye as you speak and shake their hand. Alternatively, though, you can also pick up the phone, arrange a video conference, send a handwritten card or write an email. A more public option is to thank people at company conferences, in newsletters, across social media posts and so on.
Provide Training and Development and Other Opportunities for Growth
These days, most workers, particularly those from the younger generations, aren’t just focused on what wage they earn or the hours they work. To engage with your employees and recognize their efforts and results, you should consider finding ways to help them advance their career and offer new challenges to tackle. People are always looking for ways to grow and develop, and if they don’t get this, they tend to move on to a new job sooner rather than later.
There are numerous ways to recognize your team with opportunities for growth. For example, give them time off to study or even pay for some of their courses, or arrange for them to receive one-on-one mentoring from a top-level company executive or from an external source. Also, send high-achievers off to attend key conferences and trade shows and other business events, or arrange for them to get to listen to motivational speakers or attend top training programs.
Give People Rewards and Perks
As you would imagine, people are always happy to receive rewards and perks in the workplace in recognition of their hard work. These things don’t have to cost a lot since you can acknowledge people with a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers, movie tickets or more personalized gifts tailored to them based on their interests, family structure and the like. Other options include gift vouchers, dinners out, gift cards, trips away and end-of-year bonuses.
As for perks, think about things such as additional time off, free massages or exercise classes, access to low-cost health insurance and childcare services, better parking spaces and free lunches and snacks during the work day.