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Types of Employee Rewards and Recognition

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You can recognize your employees in a number of ways and make them feel special. Employee recognition is expressing your appreciation and openly acknowledging the contributions that your employees make to your organization. Managers and supervisors usually give this recognition but anyone who is in charge can do it.

There are two main employee recognition styles: peer to peer and top-down. Here are their explanations:

Top-down Recognition

In this recognition system, a supervisor recognizes the contributions of an employee. The recognition can come in many forms, including:

Employee Appreciation Day – this is a semi-formal employee holiday that was started by Bob Nelson. Many companies have welcomed the unofficial holiday and they use it to pay respect to employees on the first Friday in the month of March. Some organizations celebrate this day by hosting small company-funded events such as small office parties and barbecues.

Quarterly bonuses – these bonuses are given once during every business quarter. They are part of a performance-based compensation model.

Years of service award – this award does not involve any monetary compensation but can include a gift. You can give this award after employees achieve certain milestones. For instance, if you track your employees’ time using software such as Clockspot, you can reward the ones who use their time efficiently.

Annual bonuses – this type of compensation is given to employees on top of their salary at the end of the business year. In most cases, annual bonuses are based on the performance of the individual or organization.

Spot bonuses – you can choose to thank your employees on the spot when they achieve something momentous. Spot bonuses are mostly given to people who show excellent productivity. The financial compensation is usually more than 50 dollars and is often handed to the employee by a senior coworker or direct manager. On-the-spot bonuses are given irregularly because you cannot predict when an employee will perform exceptionally.  

Peer to Peer Recognition

In this type of recognition system, managers and other empowered coworkers usually recognize the exceptional performance of their colleagues and reward them.

The common types of peer-to-peer recognition systems are:

Micro bonuses – this is a small monetary reward that a colleague gives to another to recognize his or her valuable contribution. Although managers can give the micro bonuses to employees, employees usually give them to their colleagues. This bonus offers unique benefits: you can give an employee his or her bonus as soon as he or she makes a valuable contribution.

Because these bonuses are small, you can give them out often. Micro bonuses provide multiple positive chances of recognizing your employees without altering his or her compensation dramatically.

Gold stars – some companies encourage their employees to recognize each other’s contributions by giving mementos. A gold star is a good example of such recognition. They can give these stars a real value, which means that they can be exchanged for tangible items.

Verbal praise – this is the longest-standing and oldest type of peer-to-peer recognition. If a member of the staff makes an exceptional contribution, his or her colleagues can give verbal praise. This recognition system is usually done as part of a formal workforce recognition program.

You can build a successful employee recognition system by doing the following:

Be specific – you should recognize specific contributions to let employees know the most valuable contributions.

Be timely – If given in a timely manner, employee recognition is very effective.

Do it frequently – employees make many contributions in a single week and you should recognize the momentous ones.

Showing your employees how much you appreciate them will not only make them work harder but increase their loyalty.

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