5 Tips on When to Reward and Recognize Employees

One of the most feel-good parts of our job is getting a chance to make employees feel better. One surefire way to do that is by recognizing and rewarding them when they’re standing out in a way that deserves more than just taking home their paycheck.

You have an opportunity to get a lot of mileage out of a little effort needed to reward and recognize. That’s why timing has to be just right.

You can reward and recognize most effectively if you follow these 5 easy tips:

1. Recognize right away. When you notice an employee doing something great, the time to mention it is right away. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to motivate your people now, and immediate recognition gives employees instant feedback. The more time that passes between the performance and the recognition, the lower the impact of that recognition. Of course, millennials especially “require immediate recognition for accomplishments,” according to a study done by the York College of Pennsylvania’s Center for Professional Excellence.

2. Sometimes you want to recognize people in a more public, more official way. A company meeting or team meeting when everyone is together is a great time to recognize an employee who does something that deserves some major recognition. This way you can put that great behavior on a pedestal for all your other employees to aspire to. However, make sure that you know how your employees like to be recognized. Some may not like to be put in the spotlight and it may just embarrass the employee.

3. A great time to bring achievements to light is when department goals align with company-wide goals. At BambooHR, we love to talk about our company values. They come up at most company meetings and reward performance when goals align. Showing this can be done creates more unity among the team and helps employees do more meaningful work. You’ll be reinforcing your company’s overall purpose in employees’ day-to-day tasks.

4. Reward and recognize often. Did you know that most employees want some sort of recognition every 7 days? That means you need to be finding ways—even if they’re small and unique—to recognize your great employees often to reassure them they’re headed in the right direction and to keep heading there.

5. Don’t only recognize employees for something they did well and then add on a pile of criticism. If you lump together the good and the bad, your employees will feel that you don’t really value the good performance. Make sure you set aside a separate time (and definitely less public place) to tackle what can still be improved.

Remember that the point of all this recognition (and rewards when you have the budget for it) is to motivate your employees to do even better. That means you need to find the positive in all your employees. Sometimes you may have to dig to find things to recognize, other times it’s much easier to see, but the fact is that reward and recognition can be a great tool for creating top-quality, productive employees.