Good performance reviews, bonuses, and one-on-one praise are obviously always appreciated by your employees. But there’s a reason that in everything from sports to academics to Hollywood, awards are handed out during ceremonies and leaderboards are posted for all to see. Recognition often means more when it’s given publicly, and employee rewards are no different.
More business leaders now acknowledge that employee rewards and recognition are vital for their company’s success. Studies have repeatedly shown that team members who feel valued are more likely to have favorable opinions about their employer and less likely to job-hunt.
Public recognition in particular can have a positive impact not just for the one being recognized, but also throughout the organization. (Just one caveat: It’s important to check in with employees to make sure they don’t prefer private praise — for instance, it would be counterproductive and stressful to call out someone who’s really shy in a big crowd.)
BambooHR and Quantum Workplace found that employees value recognition from their immediate manager the most. When employees get that recognition, it makes them more likely to recognize others, according to Achievers’ 2022 State of Recognition Report. By handing out employee rewards publicly, managers and supervisors can set that example for the entire team. Senior executives should do the same, so the company builds a culture of recognition that permeates from the top down and reaches every level.
Peer-to-peer recognition is another piece of the puzzle when it comes to making employees feel appreciated. In BambooHR and Quantum Workplace’s research, 41% of respondents wanted to get more recognition from their immediate co-workers. Getting thanked by a fellow team member is nice, but it’s much better when it’s amplified in a public setting. That helps make sure that everyone — most importantly, your manager or other team leaders — know about your everyday contributions and achievements, which often get lost in more high-level evaluations.
Beyond the individual employees being rewarded, public recognition is positive reinforcement for the rest of the team. It becomes a learning opportunity. Showing them that they, too, could be applauded and earn great employee rewards gives them something to work toward. That kind of motivator can increase overall productivity and performance on a wider scale.
Even when it’s made publicly, the recognition alone isn’t always enough. To make it the most powerful, it should come with rewards. Blackhawk Network found that 86% of those surveyed said a gift card or prepaid card from their employer would make them feel valued. No matter what you give them, though, they want their reward quickly. More than half said it becomes less impactful if it takes too long to receive. Instead of promising them a small bonus on their next paycheck in two weeks or a celebratory party next month, incorporate employee rewards into the meeting or event and distribute them on the spot.
Using tools that make it easy to send digital rewards within your communication platform means that you can also apply this strategy to remote team members working from home. That way, you and your company can enjoy all the benefits of engaged employees.