The culture of the modern workforce is changing. Effective leadership is changing too. In order to make sure you are getting the most out of your employees, you need to make sure they are motivated, feel valued and have the resources they need to be at their very best. Employee recognition is a great way to highlight top-performing employees and create a positive, productive and innovative workplace. Because when employees feel appreciated, they are more positive about themselves and their ability to contribute to the organization.

Here are three ways you can make sure your team is getting the recognition they deserve.

  1. Define your goals for employee recognition

It’s not enough to increase your employee recognition and just hope those efforts will make a quantifiable difference. Instead, you need to create a usable action plan that helps define your mission, lays out the steps you will take to get from point a to point b, and then measure your results so you can adjust for increased effectiveness. You want to recognize the actions, behaviors, approaches and accomplishments you are aiming to develop, reward and reinforce. Once you know what you are trying to achieve, you can be thoughtful and strategic about how you recognize employees.

  1. Be fair and consistent

Fairness and clarity in your employee recognition is critical to reinforce positive behavior. People need to see each person who makes the same or similar contribution has an equal opportunity for recognition, otherwise your workplace will quickly become colored by resentment and frustration. To help reduce bias and make the recognition process more transparent, there needs to be established (and published) criteria for recognition. Then, anyone who meets the criteria is recognized according to those guidelines.

A great example of this is when a company recognizes employees for exceeding sales goals. Anyone who reaches the goal should get recognition, not just the top performer. This can cause discontent and bitterness towards your rock-star performer that will inevitably have a negative impact on their performance and the overall work culture. The lesson here is to be thoughtful in your internal guidance because your actions can have unintended consequences.

  1. Mix up your approach to employee recognition

While you want to be very consistent in what qualifies an employee for recognition, you don’t want to fall into the trap of entitlement. Once recognition becomes an expectation, it fails to retain the positive impact you are aiming to achieve. Instead, mix things up in terms of your recognition. Offer top-performing employees lunch with the boss one month, or an afternoon off another month. Once a reward becomes an expectation, it is no longer a reward and quickly loses its impact. At that point, it can even reverse any progress you had made by becoming a source of dissatisfaction and negatively impact culture and an employee’s attitude about work.

For more great tips on how to inspire your employees to bring their A-game, contact the recruiting and employment experts at Verum Technical today.