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10 Employee Recognition Techniques That Can Help Boost Morale

10 Employee Recognition Techniques That Can Help Boost Morale

Two female employees smiling and shaking hands.

Last Updated June 15, 2015

In general, employees want to feel like they are more than a cog in a machine, anonymous and perhaps undervalued. From a management perspective, workplace morale is about more than ensuring a positive environment for employees. It can also have a direct effect on overall employee productivity.

Fortunately, addressing low morale is often as simple as showing employees that you care about their contribution and would like them to succeed in your company. This article highlights some simple ways managers can show others that they are important parts of an overall whole.

  1. Quarterly Reviews – Every quarter, try to find time to sit down with employees one-on-one to assess goals and give feedback. This shows employees that you are aware of them and value their success, which may help motivate them to keep their working levels strong.
  2. Yearly Awards Ceremony – Annual awards ceremonies can be a great way to reward desired performance, such as outstanding innovations or greatest levels of improvement. Try to vary the awards so that employees at multiple levels receive some recognition.
  3. Peer Recognition – While managers can choose to recognize success in certain employees, sometimes the better strategy is to allow employees this choice. Soliciting email recommendations for which employees should be honored, for example, can show other workers that their efforts are not ignored.
  4. Make Work Fun – If employee morale is low, productivity often takes a hit as well. To address this, try to find ways to make the workplace more enjoyable. A weekly event that encourages socializing or allowing employees to decorate their areas as they wish are two ways that the workplace atmosphere can be improved.
  5. Flexible Work Hours – In general, we all have responsibilities outside of work, and if these responsibilities conflict with normal working hours, many employees are left with a stressful choice of priority. Allowing workers to have the ability to set their own work hours is one way that may help improve their work/life balance.
  6. Reward Effort in Addition to Success – Rewarding success is common, but sometimes it is also important to show employees that making the effort is just as valued. Try to experiment with different ways to showcase great employee ideas that, while not working out as planned, were nonetheless innovative and should be recognized.
  7. ‘Employee of the Month’ Parking – Each month, try reserving a specific parking place for an outstanding employee. It may seem small, but it can go a long way toward showing employees that there are rewards to be gained from working hard.
  8. Telecommuting – As with setting flexible hours, allowing employees to work from home if possible in your business, is another way to help encourage a balance between work and life responsibilities. As long as the work is getting done and is of acceptable quality, telecommuting should be seen as a boon to company morale.
  9. Give Them Decision-Making Power – Employees typically like to feel that they have some say in the way things are run. While it can be tempting to micromanage workers, it may be more beneficial to trust them and allow some autonomy in taking responsibility for their tasks.
  10. Build Clear Paths for Advancement – It is important that employees have a clear sense of what it takes to advance in the company. Try to occasionally take the time to meet with employees to assess their goals and outline what steps are necessary for future promotions.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it should help give some sense of the ways managers can show employees that they are valued members of a team. By following these techniques, managers can work to increase company morale and ultimately improve both employee productivity and staff retention rates.