Today is a great time to pause and ask, what are you doing to show employees gratitude for their work? Do you have a recognition tool in place? Do you incorporate time for quick “kudos” into your regular team meetings? True appreciation needs to take place daily, as an integrated part of your culture.
Whether the gesture is big or small, continually recognizing the contributions of your staff is a crucial part of building a strong team and a high-trust workplace. Here are just a few ways that we’ve seen Great Place to Work-Certified incorporate employee appreciation into their workplace culture.
1. Peer Gifting. At ZestFinance, a technology company focused on consumer lending, employees can spend up to $150 on a gift for any employee, at any time, to thank them for going above and beyond.
2. Institute a “Birthday-off” policy. Dixon Schwabl, a full-service marketing communications firm, has a “birthday off” policy, allowing employees to enjoy their birthday with an automatic paid day off. Employees are encouraged to take off from work on the actual day of their birthday, even if their workload might not warrant it.
3. Create a “Wow-ee” fund. Venterra Realty Management Company sets aside an annual budget of $50,000 for their managers to create special moments for their employees through their “WOW-ee” program. These moments might include sporting event tickets or a housewarming gift for an employee’s new home. The company encourages managers to use the funds however they think will best support employees.
4. Use a cool recognition tool. At Square Root, a company providing software for store managers, employees use Bonusly to give peer-to-peer micro bonuses. Each team member (known as “radicals”) gets $100 per month to divvy up to co-workers that best embody the company’s values. They also offer some unconventional prizes, like dinner with the CEO or the option to have your “personal theme song” played each time you enter a room for the day.
5. Hand out custom trophies. O.C. Tanner, a company specializing in employee recognition and engagement, is an obvious star at showing their appreciation for staff. The company regularly hands out personalized trophies, badges, and other awards when employees go above and beyond.
6. Sponsor regular social events. Grovo, a New York technology company focused on education and learning, loves team outings so much that they give managers $75 per month per employee for social outings. They have a dedicated team to help managers organize these events which range from things like special dinners to shuffleboard and karaoke outings.
If these programs don’t seem like the right fit for your workplace, consider a unique or low-budget spin. Why not start a “kudos” channel on Slack or your company Intranet? Or crown an employee “queen” or “king” for the day in recognition of a job well done? The possibilities are endless.