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Why You Should Recognize Employees Early and Often

We all like being thanked for our hard work and contributions. So how often should we be saying “thank you” to others? For many businesses, the answer is far more frequently than they already are.

Status Quo

Many companies acknowledge the importance of employee recognition. Proper recognition leads to higher employee engagement, lower turnover, better morale, higher productivity, and better customer interactions. Having a recognition program in place is a true win-win for both the employees and the company. Despite all of these benefits, a whopping 42% of employees aren’t even aware that their employer has a recognition program!

The Tenure Trap

It comes as no surprise that years-of-service awards account for 87% of all employee recognition programs. These rewards are great, easy to manage, and are expected, but often don’t kick in until the employee has been working for five years. Then there are the long gaps in between awards, causing excitement to fade and engagement to dwindle.

The first step to improving tenure-based rewards is to build in “new hire”, “one-year,” and “three-year” recognition award categories. The first few years at a company are critical for new employees. A recent Job-Hopping Report concluded that job hopping is more common among younger workers and diminishes with age and career growth. By starting the recognition process early, companies can prevent their newer hires from eyeing the door.

Mind The Gap

The other pitfall of years-of-service awards are the long periods of time in between awards. It's a good idea to supplement these long gaps with something more performance based. This will mean different things for different companies, and can range from sales achievements to praise for positive customer interactions. However, some of the most important recognition takes place on a daily basis. Here are some easy ways to incorporate gratitude into your work routine:

For Managers: If you lead a daily meeting, start it out with a few words of thanks to the team, and mention specifically what they did that you’re thankful for. Specificity here is the key. If it helps, set a reminder to take time and think of all the people who have helped you over the course of the day. One caveat: try not to fall into the habit of thanking the same people in the same way, with a lunch for instance. That lunch becomes less of a reward and more of an expected event, and entitlement.

For Coworkers: Start a “kudos board” where coworkers can recognize each other by posting their stellar actions. This can be a literal or digital board depending on the company’s setup. Here at Dion, we have the Diamond Award Board where employees can nominate each other for the award. The recipient’s good deed is posted on the board and is touted in our weekly newsletter. TRue to our branding, the nominee also receives a special Diamond Award pin. Oftentimes the Diamond Award recipient doesn’t even realize the impact their kind gesture had on another person until they receive the nomination. Employees who participate in a kaizen at Dion also get a similar treatment with their process improvement being posted on our kaizen board for all to see.

In Conclusion

By recognizing your employees early and often, you’re setting the tone from the moment they’re hired: this is a company that appreciates its employees. Frequently recognized employees become more engaged, productive, and less likely to job-hop. Simple recognition efforts can go a long way when bridging the large gaps in between tenure awards.


By Aubrey Dion

Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.



Bonusly - How Frequent Staff Appreciation Improves Engagement and Performance

Forbes - New Research Unlocks the Secret of Employee Recognition

Authentic Recognition - Top 10 Ways To Increase the Frequency of Employee Recognition