7 Ideas for Employee Recognition to Increase Happiness at Your Business

June 3, 2014 / by Paige Gilbert

I love my job   employee recognition resized 600Looking forward to going to work every day is a luxury not everyone has, but sometimes just a little bit of employee recognition can make a big difference in making your company a happier place to be. It doesn’t have to be a big extravaganza. It’s actually the little things day in and day out that will have the most impact to help create a happy culture in your company and make it a place your employees look forward to coming to each day.





 “Recognition is an important psychological need. Employees who know that they will receive recognition for acting on the brand promise will have a strong incentive to do so. (Gallup, 2013 State of the American Workplace).”


7 Ideas for Employee Recognition

Whether you’re a small business with 10 or 100 employees there are effective ways to practice employee recognition that can be scaled to fit your company.

1. Celebrate milestones

Recognizing anniversaries and birthdays is a great and easy way to make employees happy. Get a birthday card for co-workers to sign, take 30 minutes to sing happy birthday and hand out cake, or give a social media shout out on your Facebook page.

2. Include employees in project planning

Employees have good ideas, but sometimes they won’t share them unless you ask. Including them in the planning stage of a new project they will be a part of will make them feel respected and give them a boost of confidence. They will also be more inclined to put extra effort into the project because they have part-ownership of it.

3. Give verbal encouragement in front of other employees

We all appreciate a compliment, and it’s nice to be recognized in front of our peers. Verbal recognition can be motivating and create a sense of pride in employees. They in turn will be more respected among their co-workers and respect their managers more too.

4. Written notes

well done   employee recognition resized 600Actually writing out a note to an employee expressing your appreciation of what they did and why it was important to your business is a form of recognition that will last for a long time. Employees save these and will pin them to a bulletin board or display them on their desks – a constant reminder that they are appreciated. Also include the note in the employees personnel file to keep record of the achievement.

5. Spend one on one time with employees

If you’re a large company this is obviously impossible for you to do with each and every employee, but you can do it with the management or admin team on a weekly or monthly basis, and then create a trickle down affect so they will do it for their departments and employees they manage. If you’re a small business of 10 or fewer employees you could easily be intentional about doing this. In either case, it’s a way to get to know employees, ask them how things are going, and evaluate them. They will be thrilled that you care.

6. Tangible gifts

Small acts of recognition like gift cards, a new notebook, or a team lunch out after a major project completion are just other ways of showing your employees you acknowledge their hard work and are appreciative of their personal contribution.

7. Provide training opportunities

Investing in professional development will help employees feel valued because you are showing faith in their ability to learn and grow, as well as belief in the productivity of your company. They will hopefully then be ready to implement their new skills.

happy business people   employee recognition resized 600 

People like to be recognized, but they might speak a different language of appreciation then you do. Some may like it more than others. Some may like it public, some may like it done privately. Check out the book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Gary Chapman and Paul White to learn more.

The 7 ideas for employee recognition above can help increase productivity because they are causing people to look forward to coming to work at your small business, and help make your company culture an overall happy place to be.

How do you recognize your employees? Let us know in the comments section below!  


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Topics: small business, Business Development, employee engagement

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