Employees respond best to informal and timely recognition of their efforts. Therefore, a manager who allows special moments to go unnoticed is missing prime opportunities to motivate their employees. Here are some employee recognition ideas that are simple, easy to utilize, and provide targeted recognition.
1.) Create recognition business cards (RB-cards) to give after an employee completes a difficult project, achieves his/her goals, or after an employee receives special acknowledgement from a customer or coworker. RB-cards are simply a business size card that you carry with you at work. RB-cards can be either elaborately or simply designed. What is important to have on them is a blank space where you write the employee's name, an area where you can write down the specific behavior being recognized, and a pre-printed statement telling the employee to bring the RB-card to their next performance review.
2.) Create recognition memos on gold paper. A recognition memo is similar to the RB-card. It also has a blank space to fill-in the employee's name, specific behavior being recognized, and a pre-printed statement telling the employee to bring the memo to their next performance review. However, the recognition memo is read and signed by the CEO and all relevant department managers. The key to making recognition memos a successful motivational tool is to have all signers sign the memo within 48-72 hours. A recognition memo that takes 3-4 weeks to get to an employee is no longer useful to producing additional employee motivation.
3.) Create an employee "freedom" card. An employee freedom card allows an employee to take a certain amount of time off of work, usually 1-2 hours, at their leisure. The employee freedom card works best with salaried employees who have a certain degree of freedom over their work schedules. It also works best when given to an employee who has just completed a difficult work project that required him/her to put in long work hours. Similar to the RB-card, the freedom card has a blank area to write the employee's name, a blank space to record the specific behavior being recognized, and a time limit in which the employee needs to take their time off, usually within one or two weeks. The employee is not allowed to save up freedom cards. The point of the freedom card is to allow the employee to take a couple hours off work to help them recharge their batteries and to lower their stress levels. The manager should tell the employee, "In order to recognize your hard work, I would like for you to take a couple of hours off, on company time, in order to relax and recharge yourself."