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Published: December 26, 2023
5 min read
By: Anouare Abdou
These 24 employee recognition New Year’s resolutions will help you boost team morale and performance, one new habit at a time.
New year, new HR best practices. While you’re busy setting personal New Year’s resolutions, why not start the professional year on the right foot by getting more intentional about employee appreciation efforts? Employee recognition studies and statistics show that recognizing employees is crucial for morale and business performance.
Effective recognition strategies increase retention and can help you save tens of thousands in turnover-related expenses. They motivate workers to give their best efforts at work while boosting job satisfaction. They also help foster diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
To help you beat the competition and keep your team fulfilled, here are 24 employee recognition resolutions to make this year.
If you don’t have one already, let this year be the year you implement a formal recognition program. If you have one, take the time to review and measure your efforts to optimize them even further. The best recognition programs turn recognition into a system with different touchpoints and types of recognition.
While there are plenty of cost-effective ways to make employees feel valued, establishing a recognition budget can help you ensure consistency and fairness when dishing out appreciation. For example, calculate how much it will cost to give every employee a small, personalized birthday gift. Or you can gamify your efforts and allocate money for rewards that people can earn in fun ways.
McKinsey research revealed that many common recognition tactics are transactional and impersonal. On the other hand, a personalized note or shout-out can go a long way in making an employee feel acknowledged. So, personalize all your appreciation messages this year – it’s worth the extra energy.
How will you know how to improve your recognition efforts if you don’t run employee surveys? Gather feedback regularly and use your newfound insights as an opportunity to not only optimize your recognition efforts, but also customize them even further. Figure out what makes your employees feel appreciated – which can vary from person to person – and tailor strategies accordingly.
Begin the new work year with a recognition calendar that various stakeholders can access. Include key dates such as employee birthdays, work anniversaries, and any other significant milestones. This will prevent awkward situations while creating a stress-free way to keep track of opportunities to dish out appreciation.
If someone is celebrating their first employee anniversary, make sure they know how grateful you are to have them in your team so they can hopefully celebrate many more to come. If someone has been with your company for 10 years, it’s a huge deal – treat it as such and throw in a gift or special celebration. Always celebrate work anniversaries, and always do so by giving different levels of tenure the reverence they deserve.
Encouraging peer-to-peer recognition is another excellent resolution to add to your list, as it will create a positive, healthy culture. A Deloitte study revealed that 85% of workers want to hear “thank you” in day-to-day interactions. Those thank-yous are impactful when they come from senior leaders – but they matter just as much coming from peers.
If someone goes above and beyond to deliver outstanding work, make sure that you’re highlighting their achievements loudly. Aim to showcase and celebrate professional contributions regularly and in company-wide communication channels, such as your newsletter or an all-hands meeting.
On that note, you’ll also want to reward collective achievements. Did multiple teams contribute to designing a new product? Celebrate their work. Did the company just hit a huge sales quota? Compliment everyone for supporting the achievement of that goal.
Professional development is a powerful form of recognition you should incorporate into your efforts this year. A Better Buys study showed that employees offered professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged and have 34% higher retention. People want to grow. Give them a chance to grow in a direction aligned with their goals, and they’ll feel more appreciated.
Have you heard of the concept of a recognition wall? Establishing an in-person or virtual wall to appreciate employees’ achievements, skills and traits publicly is a simple yet effective way to spread the positive effects of gratitude across the workplace.
Applauz Recognition Badges is a tool to embrace this year. Creating custom badges to acknowledge employees allows you to tie your recognition efforts to your bigger goals and mission. For instance, if delivering excellent customer service is a top priority for your brand, you can create a Customer-Favorite badge.
Develop strategies to recognize the contributions of remote or hybrid team members, who are most at risk of getting overlooked when it comes to career advancement opportunities and disengaging.
Are you using recognition to promote core values in the workplace? If not, this year is the perfect time to tie your values to employee appreciation efforts. Organizations with a strong sense of purpose have strong cultures. Values are how purpose is acted upon – so make sure you reinforce the behaviours you want to promote.
Never underestimate the power of an old-fashioned handwritten note. This year, take the time to personally craft handwritten notes of appreciation and thank team members for their hard work and dedication.
You can also organize special events and activities to express gratitude to all employees. From branded award ceremonies to employee retreats, pick a big event to focus on this year – and start planning.
Flexibility is one of the most appreciated workplace perks. To attract and retain top talent, ask yourself how to offer more flexible work arrangements this year. Remembering that people have lives outside of work is key. Some workers will want time off to observe specific cultural holidays, and others may be taking care of kids or family members.
As the adage says, “praise publicly, criticize privately.” Public shoutouts are as (if not sometimes more) important as private ones. A genuine compliment offered during a team meeting or a message of acknowledgement in a public Slack channel can make someone’s day. Still, it can also show the rest of the team members that you are happy to speak positively and don’t just discuss the negatives. You’ll be surprised at how much it boosts team morale.
From tools like Applauz to platforms that keep remote workers in the loop, there are so many technology solutions out there to help streamline your employee recognition approach. Make it a point to research and find the best ones for your team.
Employee of the Month awards may sound cheesy, but there’s a reason they are still employed in many workplaces: they work. Create an Employee of the Month program to celebrate outstanding contributions monthly.
It wouldn’t be a New Year’s resolutions list without a health-oriented goal. Weave health and wellness into your culture by appreciating employees who participate in wellness activities at work – now would be a good time to introduce something like lunchtime yoga.
Teams with a strong focus on DEI tend to outperform others, and DEI and employee recognition go hand in hand. Make it your mission to implement inclusive recognition strategies that celebrate all employees' unique contributions and perspectives.
Did you know that, according to PossibleWorks, only 22% of managers say they are equipped to recognize their employees? Add providing training on recognition to your list of resolutions so leaders can feel confident about recognizing employees.
It may not be the most fun resolution on this list, but documenting your recognition policies is important. Best practices constantly evolve, and you’ll also learn things through trial and error. Review and revise policies to reflect this evolution.
Whether it's creating a recognition calendar or making a conscious effort to celebrate team members, remember that consistency trumps good intentions. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with your team by embracing the New Year’s resolutions above and putting employee recognition at the forefront of your efforts in 2024 (and for years to come).
Category TagsEmployee Recognition
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